Russians Accused of Poisoning Former Spy Appear on Russian TV

The UK believes the men are Russian military intelligence officers who tried to kill Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury last March.

Two Russian men's claims that they were innocent tourists wrongly branded as would-be assassins met with mockery in Britain Friday and even raised eyebrows in the usually patriotic Russian media. "It's famous for its 123 meter spire, it's famous for its clock, one of the first ever created in the world that's still working".

"Our plan was to spend some time in London and then to visit Salisbury", Petrov said.

Later in the interview, the pair of men denied allegations they work for the GRU, Russia's military intelligence service, instead claiming they work in the "fitness industry".

Boshirov and Petrov said they visited the southern English city of Salisbury in March, calling it a "wonderful town" and saying they wanted to see the famous Salisbury Cathedral.

The two accused men spoke on camera for almost 30 minutes, rarely smiling as they discussed their actions with RT's Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.

The Center for European Reform tweeted that its director of foreign policy, Ian Bond, told the BBC that the interview could have meant to "cause confusion, put smoke out there to obscure the battlefield".

Now Russia has restated its denial of involvement in the attack by suggesting Britain could quiz Petrov and Boshirov if an official request is made.

The interview was conducted by Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT and the Kremlin's top propagandist.


"I think they're just two guys who have been blamed for this - now they're in shock, they're scared, they don't know what to do".

So what were these two men really doing in Salisbury?

"We went there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, but we couldn't do it because there was muddy slush everywhere", Petrov said, referring to local landmarks.

"The lies and blatant fabrications in this interview given to a Russian state-sponsored TV station are an insult to the public's intelligence", British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman told reporters.

"They are believed to have taken a similar route when they returned to London on the afternoon of Saturday, 3 March". The men denied having any poison or the counterfeit Nina Ricci perfume bottle that United Kingdom police say was used to transport the nerve agent.

But many were quick to point out that on March 4, the second day the two Russians visited Salisbury, the snow from previous days had cleared, and both CCTV images of Ruslan and Boshirov, and pictures taken by the Journal when the Skripals fell ill show completely unobstructed pathways. Boshirov said that when they first arrived there, it was a snowy day and they got very wet.

Boshirov, who sported a goatee, denied they knew anything about Skripal or the location of his house.

He claimed his life had been turned "upside down" and added: "We're afraid of going out, we fear for ourselves, our lives and lives of our loved ones". British politicians immediately called the interview "not credible".

Both Skripal and his daughter recovered from the attack, but a woman who came into contact with a discarded perfume bottle that contained the nerve agent died. "Why would a man have perfume for women in his luggage?" She said the interview was recorded on Wednesday evening.


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