Russians claiming to be Salisbury suspects say they were just tourists

Attack The suspects believed to be travelling as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov

Attack The suspects believed to be travelling as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov

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.

RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said the pair had called her mobile because they wanted to tell their story.

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. "It's famous for its 123-metre spire, it's famous for its clock, the first one ever created in the world, which is still working", said Boshirov.

Two Russian men the United Kingdom has accused of poisoning a former Russian spy in England, Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, appeared in an interview with Kremlin-backed RT on Sep.

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

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

Both men sounded distressed as they spoke about how their lives had changed since they were named in the United Kingdom as Russian intelligence agents who attempted to poison the Skripals.

They spoke with the Kremlin's propaganda-machine Russia Today on Wednesday in yet another attempt by Vladimir Putin's regime to obscure the narrative surrounding the incident.

The British police believe the men to be officers of Russian military intelligence, GRU, who may have travelled on false passports to London from Moscow in March.

They told state-controlled outlet RT News that they were in Salisbury, where Skripal and his daughter were poisoned, because their friends had recommended its "famous cathedral". "I have seen nothing to suggest that has changed".

An except of the full interview was shown on RT News on Thursday morning, and an additional transcript can be seen here.

The officials also allege that the pair are military intelligence agents who were sent to the United Kingdom to poison the Skripals with the nerve agent Novichok.

'We have repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury in March. "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. "Yes they are our real names".

"On Saturday, 3 March, they left the hotel and took the underground to Waterloo station, arriving at approximately 11.45am, where they caught a train to Salisbury, arriving at approximately 2.25pm".

"Doesn't it look silly for straight guys to carry women's perfume in their luggage?"

The journey was part of their holiday, they said, though they had also been in Europe to do business related to sports nutrition.

They claimed they were now victims and were in fear of their lives. As for visits to Switzerland, they traveled to that country mostly for leisure. "We were just taking in the English gothic", Boshirov said.

"We spent no more than an hour in Salisbury, mainly because of the lags between trains".

Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley fell ill after Rowley found a counterfeit bottle of Nina Ricci perfume containing Novichok and brought it home. We don't know who actually poisoned the Skripals.

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