Salisbury nerve attack suspects say they were in United Kingdom as tourists

Bessie Dean
September 14, 2018

The two Russian men who have been charged in Britain with poisoning a former Russian spy have appeared on Russian television saying they visited the suspected crime scene as tourists.

The men 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.

"It's famous for its 123-meter spire", he said, adding that its clock is also notable.

"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.

When the interviewer asked them whether they had Novichok or any poison with them, they emphatically said no.

Britain has said the two suspects were Russian military intelligence officers nearly certainly acting on orders from high up in the Russian state.

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.

The two men said they were exhausted and frightened by the impact of the Skripal case on their lives and made a plea to be left in peace.

Yulia Skripal flew in to the United Kingdom from Russia on Saturday, 3 March to visit her father, Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent who was living in Salisbury.

They said they may have approached Skripal's house by chance but did not know where it was located.

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Putin also said that if the poison used were really a chemical warfare agent, death would have been instantaneous. Britain has blamed the Russian government of being involved in the attacks, though Moscow has strongly denied it.

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But Salisbury MP John Glen said their statements are not credible and what they have said does not match intelligence the United Kingdom has on them. Much of Britain suffered such weather that day.

The two men's actual identities are a matter of dispute.

They claimed they did not know who Skripal was or where he lived.

"They left Salisbury and returned to Waterloo Station, arriving at approximately 4.45pm and boarded the London Underground at approximately 6.30pm to London Heathrow Airport".

"From the very start we planned to go to London and, put bluntly, cut loose and have some fun", he said in the interview which was pre-recorded on Wednesday and broadcast on Thursday. They got a flight back to Russian Federation later that evening.

Two Russian men accused by Britain of poisoning a former Russian spy and his daughter in England said on Thursday they had been the victims of a "fantastical coincidence" and were simply Russian businessmen on holiday overseas. You need to ask them.

"Let's not breach anyone's privacy", Boshirov replied. "We came to you for protection, but this is turning into some sort of interrogation", he said.

The interview comes a day after President Vladimir Putin said the two men were not criminals, reversing his government's previous claims that the names given by London were meaningless.

John Glen, the Conservative MP for Salisbury and South Wiltshire, dismissed the statements from Petrov and Boshirov as "not credible". "What is our fault?" After a brief pause, he added that the town is known for its cathedral, which is "famous not only in Europe, but in the whole world".

In this file grab taken from CCTV and issued by the Metropolitan Police in London on September 5, 2018, Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov walk on Fisherton Road, Salisbury, England, March 4, 2018. "But very odd to come all this way for just two days while carrying Novichok in their luggage", tweeted John Glen, the Member of Parliament for Salisbury who is also a government minister.

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