Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Novichok suspects: We were in Salisbury as tourists

Attack The suspects believed to be travelling as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov Attack The suspects believed to be travelling as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov
Stacy Diaz | 13 September, 2018, 20:27

Just a day after President Vladimir Putin urged them to come forward, the two Russians the United Kingdom accuses of carrying out a nerve-agent attack on a former spy denied the charges in an interview with RT state television.

A handout picture taken at Salisbury train station in Salisbury, west of London on March 3, 2018, and released by the British Metropolitan Police Service in London on September 5, 2018, shows Alexander Petrov (R) and Ruslan Boshirov.

The men who said their real names were Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov said they'd been tourists visiting the English city of Salisbury, where the poisoning took place, to see its cathedral.

"Today - just as we have seen throughout - they have responded with obfuscation and lies". "We were drenched up to our knees", Boshirov said.

The two Russian men, who say they are both about 40, were identified last week as suspects by the British government.

The Kremlin-backed station aired the interview a day after President Vladimir Putin said Russian Federation had identified the men sought by Britain and urged them to address the media.

They said they "got wet, took the nearest train and came back" to London.

"Well, we came there [to the UK] on 2 March, then went to a railway station to see the timetable".

"We arrived in Salisbury on March 3 and tried to walk through the town, but we lasted for only half an hour because it was covered in snow".

They told state-controlled outlet RT News that they were in Salisbury, where Skripal and his daughter were poisoned, because their friends had recommended its "famous cathedral".

"They are civilians, of course", Putin said, adding there was nothing criminal about them.

The pair, who the United Kingdom suspect of being members of Russia's GRU military intelligence agency, complained their lives had been "turned upside down" and RT said they sounded distressed during the interview. "All footage features you two together", she told them.

They travelled to and from Salisbury on the weekend in March that Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned. He laughed off as "silly" the idea that they would have carried a women's perfume bottle.

He tweeted that he was "delighted" the men were able to visit Salisbury's "world-class attractions", but said it was "very unusual to come all this way for just two days while carrying Novichok in their luggage".

Mr Skripal is a former GRU agent who secretly spied for Britain before being pardoned by the Kremlin and exchanged with among others - glamour agent Anna Chapman. "When your life is turned upside down in a moment?"

"The duo surfaced a day after President Putin said Russian Federation had located Petrov and Boshirov, but that there was nothing special or criminal about them".

In going public as the Russian men accused by London of carrying out deadly poisonings on English soil, Ruslan Boshirov and Aleksandr Petrov both expressed and generated disbelief at the same time.

They spent New Year's Eve in Switzerland and have been to Vienna, the pair said. At the airport, we always go down one corridor.