Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Skripal poisoning suspects say they were in United Kingdom as 'tourists'

Novichok suspects. Pic Russia Today Image Novichok suspects
Ivan Hill | 14 September, 2018, 10:33

According to the British version of the case, on March 4 former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal, convicted in Russian Federation of spying for Britain, and his daughter Yulia were affected by a Novichok class nerve agent in Salisbury.

Two Russians resembling men Britain accuses of jetting to England to try to murder a former spy said on Thursday that they were innocent tourists who had flown to London for fun and visited the city of Salisbury to see its cathedral.

Right on cue, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov gave an interview on state-funded channel RT on Thursday morning, during which they described their dismay at being swept up in an global scandal. This week, the two men appeared on RT to assert their innocence and claimed they were visiting the small town of Salisbury not to expose Skripal to the nerve agent Novichok, but to check out a cathedral.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, two Russians over the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, conducted a freaky interview Thursday.

The Moscow-based editor-in-chief of RT, Margarita Simonyan, said that the two men had contacted her by phone and she spent an evening with them before the clips of the interview were aired on Thursday.

"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".

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin described the two men as "civilians".

Boshirov acknowledged they may have been near Mr Skripal's house but they did not know where it was.

The British government has repeated its assertion that Russian authorities were lying about the poisoning of a Russian former spy in the English city of Salisbury.

The men also denied that they are, as British Prime Minister Theresa May asserted last week, agents of the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service Skripal had betrayed.

'We have repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury in March. They added that they would like to receive an apology from British officials.

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"A tourist town", Boshirov said.

"Delighted that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Borishov were able to see the world-class attractions that #Salisbury has to offer".

Boshirov added: "There is the famous Salisbury cathedral, well known not just across Europe, but probably around the whole world".

According to RT's website, the men were asked about the perfume bottle that contained the Novichok, discovered by Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley.

They've been accused of acting as Russian intelligence agents and attacking a former double agent in Salisbury, but the two men say that they're just regular businessmen who work in sports nutrition.

"The lies and blatant fabrications in this interview given to a Russian state-sponsored TV station are an insult to the public's intelligence", the spokesman said.

The RT interview went on: "Speaking of straight men, all footage features you two together".

Both men looked composed during the interview, but Boshirov said, "We fear for our lives".

Photos released by Scotland Yard show the pair walking on a largely clear sidewalk, with a light dusting of snow in the corners.

One senior security source said of the pair that the United Kingdom government "is clear they are GRU" (Russian foreign intelligence), and used a "devastatingly toxic" weapon on Britain's streets. They denied that they carried a bottle of women's perfume where British authorities found traces of Novichok.

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