Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Salisbury nerve attack suspects say they were in United Kingdom as tourists

Salisbury nerve attack suspects say they were in United Kingdom as tourists

The former Russian spy and his daughter were found collapsed on 4 March; the police officer fell ill after trying to help them.

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

Describing themselves as victims of a "fantastical coincidence", Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov sat down with state-funded Russia Today to explain two short visits to Salisbury on March 3 and 4, per Sky News.

"Our friends have been suggesting for a long time that we visit this wonderful town", Petrov said.

Police in Wiltshire cordoned off a number of areas across the city and health officials said anyone exposed to the unknown substance had been decontaminated.

RT's interview with UK's suspects in the Skripal case has triggered a troll storm on TripAdvisor, as the page of the Salisbury Cathedral got raided by users posing as Russian agents. "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.

Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said bids to link the Russian state to what happened in Salisbury were "unacceptable", but when asked if he believed the men's account, Mr Peskov retorted that his opinion made no difference.

However, a European Arrest Warrant has been obtained in case they travel to the EU, and UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has warned that the men will be caught and prosecuted if they ever step out of Russian Federation.

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.

Britain on Thursday, September 13, dismissed as an "insult" an interview shown on Russian television with two men who appeared to be the suspects accused by London of poisoning a former Russian spy with a Soviet-era nerve agent. They denied involvement in the attack.

They confirmed they are the two men shown in CCTV pictures issued by the Metropolitan Police, saying they own the clothes they were pictured in and even bought their shoes in England. British intelligence services say the names are likely aliases, used for a mission in which they failed to kill Skripal.

Appearing nervous and uncomfortable, the men confirmed their names as those announced by the United Kingdom investigators - Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

The same day, Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament that Petrov and Boshirov are officers from the Russian intelligence services, also known as the GRU.

"Do you know where Skripal's house is?" asked Boshirov.

But what did they say and is it plausible? Investigators say Novichok, the nerve agent used in the attack, was carried in a fake Nina Ricci perfume bottle. A British woman died four months later after coming into contact with a perfume bottle containing the chemical weapon.

Britain accused Russian Federation of responding with "obfuscation and lies" after the RT interview was aired this morning.

But instead of heading in the direction of the cathedral, they went the other way and were captured 10 minutes later near a Shell petrol garage on Wilton Road.

RT's Margarita Simonyan who interviewed the pair admitted she did not believe them and was "still waiting" for their holiday snaps.

"At 3pm on Friday, 2 March, the suspects arrived at Gatwick airport, having flown from Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2588".

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