Skripal suspects claim they were tourists

Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov

Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov

The men, who identified themselves as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, told Russian state television RT that they visited Salisbury in early March because they wanted to see the southern English town's famous cathedral.

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.

United Kingdom authorities believe the pair smeared the highly toxic chemical Novichok on a door handle at the Wiltshire home of former GRU officer Sergei Skripal, leaving Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia critically ill.

"An illegal chemical weapon has been used in the streets of this country".

Prime Minister May said last week that the men were agents from Russia's GRU military intelligence and that the Kremlin had "almost certainly" authorized the attempted murder and the use of the nerve agent Novichok on British soil.

Britain immediately rejected the pair's claims which they described as "obfuscation and lies" and maintained the assertion of police and prosecutors that they were members of the GRU intelligence agency.

The Russian prime suspects in the Salisbury nerve agent attack have disappeared following their only interview about the case and appear to have disconnected their mobile phones.

"The whole situation is an incredible, fatal coincidence, and that's that", Petrov said. "What is our fault?"

British intelligence found the novichok was stored in a fake Nina Ricci perfume bottle, but the two suspects said that would be a ridiculous way for them to transport poison, which they denied having, as it would be "silly for decent lads" to have women's perfume.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, on Wednesday denied the men worked for the military.

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The paper also noted they showed no evidence they had ever made it to Salisbury cathedral, which they cited as the city's main draw.

"They demanded that only one camera run during the interview and refused to show their IDs", RT says of the interview carried out by Simonyan. "But the Petrov/Borishov statements are not credible and don't match the widely accepted intelligence we have on these individuals".

The men, who appeared to be about 40, claimed they did not know who Skripal was or where he lived.

March 4, 1.40pm - The BMW is parked at a lot in central Salisbury. Only this week, we heard an official statement from London, which said that they did not plan to employ the legal assistance mechanism and send any requests to Russian Federation.

In an address to the Easter Economic Forum in Vladivostok, he said: "Of course, we looked who these people are".

"And you see what's happening now with these two characters produced in this satirical way by Putin on Russian TV, asked these ludicrously patsy questions".

"Do you know where Skripal's house is?" asked Boshirov.

They spent weeks in intensive care in hospital before recovering. Boshirov said. He went on to claim that if they had such an item in their luggage, it would have been hard to get past airport customs agents without arousing suspicion.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov confirmed they are the men accused of carrying out the attack in the interview with RT Thursday. "Sadly, it's what we've come to expect", the spokesman said.

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