'Skripal suspects' tell Russian media they visited Britain as tourists

'Skripal suspects' tell Russian media they visited Britain as tourists

RT said the men sounded distressed and were sweating as they spoke.

Britain alleges the nerve agent used to poison the Skripals was carried in a perfume vial, which Boshirov dismissed by saying, "Don't you think it's kind of stupid for two straight men to carry perfume for ladies?"

When asked why they were in Salisbury, the men said: "Our friends had been suggesting for a long time we visit this wonderful town".

"Salisbury?" their interviewer asked.

"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. Boshirov explained that the sights in the town include "the famous Salisbury Cathedral", which he said is "famous for its 123 meter spire".

"They are civilians, of course", Putin said, adding there was nothing criminal about them.

In going public as the Russian men accused by London of carrying out deadly poisonings on English soil, Ruslan Boshirov and Aleksandr Petrov both expressed and generated disbelief at the same time.

And British journalists have been mocking the story on Twitter, highlighting the improbability of the pair's itinerary and route if they were truly tourists.

The men, who identified themselves as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, denied any involvement in the attack on Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, and his daughter, Yulia, in March.

So what were these two men really doing in Salisbury?

Detectives believe it is likely the two suspects, thought to be aged around 40, travelled under aliases and that Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names.

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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". "The interview with Petrov and Boshirov had already been set, otherwise [Putin] wouldn't have spoken about them", political strategist Gleb Pavlovsky told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

"Perhaps we did pass by Skripal's house, but we don't know where it is", said Boshirov.

"I have no doubt that Ofcom will look at it", said Mark Stephens, a senior member of the law firm Howard Kennedy, adding he expected the regulator would receive complaints about the interview.

A police officer who visited the home of the Skripals shortly after the attack, Nick Bailey, was also left critically ill from exposure to the substance.

They strongly denied that in their luggage they had a Nina Ricci perfume bottle, which, according to the investigation, they had used as a container for the nerve agent reportedly used for poisoning in Salisbury.

Russian state TV channel Rossiya-24 said Mr Petrov would give an interview to them next week, but just a day later both suspects have spoken to RT.

She said the new sanctions will include banking sanctions, a broader ban on Russian procurement of defense articles, and a block on any foreign aid.

At first, they had planned to stay in Salisbury for the whole day, but snowfall made them leave earlier than they had planned.

"At 3pm on Friday, 2 March, the suspects arrived at Gatwick airport, having flown from Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2588". As for visits to Switzerland, they traveled to that country mostly for leisure.

"They then travelled on London public transport to Waterloo station and were in the area between approximately 6pm and 7pm".

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