Russians Accused of Poisoning Former Spy Allow Interview

A still image taken from a video footage and released by RT international news channel

A still image taken from a video footage and released by RT international news channel

British prosecutors last week identified two Russians they said were operating under aliases - Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - whom they accused of trying to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal with a military-grade nerve agent in England.

They appeared Thursday on the state-funded RT channel, saying they visited Salisbury as tourists and had nothing to do with the poisoning.

"Our friends had been suggesting for a long time that we visit this wonderful town", Petrov told RT.

"They demanded that only one camera run during the interview and refused to show their IDs", RT says of the interview carried out by Simonyan.

A screengrab taken on September 13, 2018, from footage broadcast by Russia's state broadcaster Russia Today (RT), shows two men, purported to be Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov taking part in a television interview. They say the goal of the men's visit to Salisbury on 3 March was reconnaissance, and on 4 March they returned to apply Novichok to the Skripals' front door. "Therefore it can not say: "Sorry, we made a awful mistake here".

The two Russian men spun an unlikely tale of hapless tourists defeated by grim British weather: They traveled more than 1609 kilometres 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.

The pair said they had travelled to Europe quite a lot for holidays and for business.

After the meeting, Bashirov and Petrov went by train to Salisbury.

The two men said they were exhausted and frightened by the impact of the Skripal case on their lives and made a plea to be left in peace.

The source said: "It's believed they could have met a handler who was working at the embassy and a fourth, the medic, might have had oversight of the whole thing to make sure they didn't risk ruining the operation by getting themselves contaminated".

One witness said he saw a person in a hazardous material suit go between the restaurant and the ambulance.

"There is nothing special or criminal about it, I can assure you..."

They say this evidence will only be produced if the two Russian agents are brought to trial.

"I'll say it now - those two guys on Russian TV are murderers".

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were left critically ill after coming into contact with nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury, police believe.

They claimed they did not know who Skripal was and they did not know where he lived. The customs are checking everything, they would have questions as to why men have women's perfume in their luggage.

Ms Simonyan said: "They told me that if they found those pictures, they would send them to me on WhatsApp".

Skripal, a former colonel in the GRU who betrayed several agents to the MI6 intelligence service in Britain, and his daughter were discovered unconscious on a Salisbury bench last March.

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

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