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Salisbury nerve attack suspects say they were in United Kingdom as tourists
13 September 2018, 05:27 | Elsie Buchanan
Sergei Skripal buying groceries near his Salisbury home
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.
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In an interview with RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan, two men who identified themselves as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirovsaid they had nothing to do with the poisoning of the Skripals, saying they had reached out to RT to tell their side of the story.
The pair also said they had travelled to the area to see "Stonehenge, Old Sarum, but we couldn't do it because there was muddy slush everywhere".
The men also denied that they are, as British Prime Minister Theresa May asserted last week, agents of the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service Skripal had betrayed.
FILE PHOTO: The forensic tent, covering the bench where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found, is repositioned by officials in protective suits in the centre of Salisbury, Britain, March 8, 2018.
Putin says Salisbury suspects are civilians, not criminals
The attack left the Skripals hospitalized for weeks , and two other local residents were seriously sickened months later. The UK accused two men of attempting to assassinate a former Russian agent in England with military-grade nerve agent.
The two men described themselves workers in the fitness industry and said that they had been on a sightseeing trip to...
The two men appeared on Russia's state-funded RT television station. 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.
"When our lives turned into nightmare, we did not know what to do and where to go".
He tweeted that he was "delighted" the men were able to visit Salisbury's "world-class attractions", but said it was "very unusual to come all this way for just two days while carrying Novichok in their luggage". They said they had fallen victim to a "fantastical coincidence".
"We have repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury in March".
"Today - just as we have seen throughout - they have responded with obfuscation and lies".
The RT interview was aired a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country had identified the men Britain suspects of poisoning Skripal and his daughter, but claimed they were civilians.
"The government is clear these men are officers of the Russian military intelligence service - the GRU - who used a devastatingly toxic, illegal chemical weapon on the streets of our country", the statement said.
Officers 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. "Don't you think it's silly for straight men to have women's perfume with them?" "We didn't have it".
They spent New Year's Eve in Switzerland and have been to Vienna, the pair said.
Following the poisoning, it was indicated that the Central Intelligence Agency would offer to settle the pair into a new life with new identities in the USA, to protect them from any further assassination attempts.
"We pick up the most necessary, come here and decide how to deliver the new products from this market here". Boshirov said, referring to the small Nina Ricci vial which British authorities said had contained the poison. We went through the corridor together, we always [do it] together.
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