Skripal poisoning suspects say they were tourists in UK

Skripal poisoning suspects say they were tourists in UK

Two men suspected of targeting the Skripals with novichok have denied being Russian agents or having anything to do with the poisoning.

The two men identified as suspects in the Salisbury nerve agent attack have appeared on Russia's state-funded television station RT, claiming they visited the "wonderful" English city as tourists to see its cathedral, "famous for its 123-metre spire".

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Friday that Russian authorities will consider Britain's request to interrogate them if it comes.

"These are ordinary citizens".

The Kremlin meanwhile dismissed as "absurd" London's claim that the interview contained "lies and blatant fabrications".

The men say that their lives have been "turned upside down" by the allegations and want an apology. "We didn't have it", Boshirov said.

Several hours after the interview with Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov aired, online impersonators flocked on the page, leaving tongue-in-cheek posts on the TripAdvisor page of the Salisbury's Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 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.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov denied working for the Russian military intelligence service.

Mr Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, who are recovering at a safe house in the United Kingdom, were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury in March, having been poisoned with the nerve agent novichok.

The regulator said Thursday's interview had not yet triggered any new complaints but industry experts said the network had taken a big risk by airing the interview.

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In the TV broadcast, the men were asked why they went to Salisbury on two different days. In the interview, the men say that they only walked around for less than an hour before getting soaked, giving up, and going back to the train station for a coffee.

"We were drenched up to our knees", Boshirov said. British police accuse the pair of being intelligence officers who tried to kill former KGB spy Sergei Skripal.

Instead, it raised questions about whether the two men are gay.

They have also commented on the British police's theory that they had brought a Nina Ricci perfume bottle full of the Novichok toxic nerve agent.

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 suspects contended that one photo released by British police was incorrect - a security still showing them at separate passport windows at the same time at Gatwick airport.

A still image taken from an undated video shows Sergei Skripal, a former colonel of Russia's GRU military intelligence service, being detained by secret service officers in an unknown location.

Britain has formally linked the attack on the Skripals to events in nearby Amesbury where Dawn Sturgess, 44, and her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, were exposed to the same nerve agent.

They spent New Year's Eve in Switzerland and have been to Vienna, the pair said.

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