Russian suspects in poisoning: We were in UK as tourists

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In their sole interview last week, two men who resembled the suspects told Russian state-sponsored television that they had visited Salisbury twice but denied they worked for Russian military intelligence, known as the GRU, or had committed any crime.

But two Russian men, identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, are defending themselves on Russian state TV, saying they visited England in March strictly as tourists.

Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer jailed for spying for Britain, is released and flown to the UK as part of a swap with Russian agents caught in the United States.

Moscow could avoid these sanctions if it meets a November deadline to allow on-site inspections of facilities linked to the chemical used in the March attempt to kill former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England and provides a "verifiable" assurance that it won't used banned chemical weapons again.

An image from footage released by Scotland Yard police shows suspect Alexander Petrov
An image from footage released by Scotland Yard police shows suspect Alexander Petrov

The men denied the allegations and said they visited Salisbury on March 3 for tourism but stayed for 30 minutes only.

"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.

The naming of suspected GRU agents Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov as the Salisbury Novichok assassins has reportedly left Russian intelligence chiefs reeling. The Russian President insisted they were innocent and "civilians", contradicting accusations by Scotland Yard that they were agents of Russian military intelligence, the GRU, which Mr Skripal used to be a member of. Boshirov explained that the sights in the town include "the famous Salisbury Cathedral", which he said is "famous for its 123 meter spire".

"We went to Salisbury on the 3rd [of March]", said Petrov. "What is our fault?" And the exotic poison is also blamed for the death of Dawn Sturgess, 44, in July, after her boyfriend, Charlie Rowley, gave her what turned out to be a bottle of bogus perfume that contained the nerve agent.

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Another review, this time by Mark R, said: "Me and my co-assassin, sorry, 'tourist" went there because the big man (Putin) needed a loose end sorting out, sorry - photo's of the spire for his photo-collection of massive erections.

They say the pair arrived at Salisbury railway station at 11.48am.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Russian intelligence agencies have in recent years identified and located multiple Russians who were CIA informants and now live in the USA under a secret agency program.

The men, who appeared to be about 40, claimed they did not know who Skripal was or where he lived.

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"Accusing Russia of lying after the declarations of two Russian citizens is. absurd", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"We're afraid of going out, we fear for ourselves, our lives and lives of our loved ones", Boshirov said.

On March 4, Skripal and his daughter were found slumped unconscious on a bench in the town of Salisbury after being exposed to the nerve agent Novichok.

"We were just taking in the English gothic [style]", Boshirov said. Putin, speaking at an economic forum in Russia's Far East, described Petrov and Boshirov as regular citizens and definitely not "criminals". They recovered after treatment in the hospital. Sadly, it is what we have come to expect.

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