Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Skripal poisoning: Suspects say they were in Salisbury to see cathedral

Skripal poisoning: Suspects say they were in Salisbury to see cathedral

London's reaction to a recent interview of Russia's RT channel with two men suspected of poisoning Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia is absurd, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

"Our friends have been suggesting for quite a long time that we visit this wonderful city", Petrov said in an exclusive interview to Russia's state-owned media outlet, Russia Today, a top Kremlin propaganda tool.

"What were you doing there?" It's famous for its 123-metre spire, it's famous for its clock, the first one [of its kind] ever created in the world, which is still working.

A United Kingdom government spokesperson said the United Kingdom is "clear" that Petrov and Boshirov are agents with Russian military intelligence and slammed the interview as "lies and blatant fabrications".

"Of course, we went there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, but we couldn't do it because there was muddy slush everywhere", they told RT.

They are accused of conspiracy and the attempted murder of Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, and of a police officer who was investigating the poisoning.

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

Asked about apparent inconsistencies in the two men's story, 44-year-old Muscovite Ivan Raspopov joked: "You know, Russian tourists often become rather unusual in the West". "I don't know what to expect tomorrow", said Boshirov.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin described the two men as "civilians".

The two Russian men spun an unlikely tale of hapless tourists defeated by grim British weather: They traveled more than 1,000 miles to see England's famed Salisbury Cathedral but were turned back by slush and snow, then returned the next day and spent two hours exploring the "beautiful" city. They claimed to be tourists who were visiting the city where the assault took place to see its historic cathedral and denied any involvement in the attack. They returned the next day to see the sights.

Boshirov and Petrov went on to explain that they had also expected to visit other nearby attractions, but their plans were thwarted.

Short clips from the interview with Petrov and Boshirov (the British government believes those are fake names) were aired on RT last night around 8:30PM AEST. "Russian Federation has responded with contempt".

A handout picture taken at Salisbury train station in Salisbury, west of London on March 3, 2018, and released by the British Metropolitan Police Service in London on September 5, 2018, shows Alexander Petrov (R) and Ruslan Boshirov. "Their lips move, words come out, but it is the action of putting these men forward that sends the message that Putin is proud of what they did".

The British government on Thursday issued a statement after the interview was released, reiterating their claim that Russian authorities were lying about the case.

"We examine the market, look if there is something new - some biologically active additives, amino acids, vitamins, microelements", Boshirov said.

The British government says they're GRU officers who were ordered to carry out a high-profile assassination.

During their interview with RT, the pair denied this, instead saying they were in the sports-nutrition business.

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