Russians charged in poisoning say they visited United Kingdom as tourists

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According to RT, the two men "sounded distressed" about being named by the United Kingdom as Russian intelligence agents alleged to have been involved in the poisoning.

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They said they felt they deserved an apology from the real perpetrators of the poisoning, if they were ever found.

"Our friends had been suggesting for a long time that we visit this wonderful town", one of the men said. "We got wet, took the nearest train and came back" to London, they told RT, Russia's state-run worldwide broadcaster.

Southwestern Railway confirmed to Sky News there were engineering works that weekend and no direct trains from London to Salisbury, so they would have had to change at Basingstoke.

The pair claimed they have been left fearing for their lives after Britain pointed to their involvement and said they were officers in Russian military intelligence service the GRU.

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Two men accused by London of poisoning former spy Sergei Skripal told Russian media on Thursday they visited the British city of Salisbury for tourist purposes and denied having anything to do with the murder attempt. "Isn't it silly for decent lads to have women's perfume?" "When your life is turned upside down in a moment?"

The men also denied that they had smuggled the Novichok nerve agent used to poison Skripal, and four other people, into Britain disguised as perfume. "But the Petrov/Borishov statements are not credible and don't match the widely accepted intelligence we have on these individuals".

This still taken from CCTV and issued by the Metropolitan Police in London on September 5, 2018, shows Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov on Fisherton Road, Salisbury, England, March 4, 2018.

"The government is clear these men are officers of the Russian military intelligence service - the GRU - who used a devastatingly toxic, illegal chemical weapon on the streets of our country", the statement said.

"Today - just as we have seen throughout - they have responded with obfuscation and lies".

The interview "looks as though it was hurriedly thrown together in response to Putin's decision", said Mark Galeotti, senior researcher at the Prague-based Institute of International Relations and an expert on Russian security matters. The men denied having any poison or the counterfeit Nina Ricci perfume bottle that United Kingdom police say was used to transport the nerve agent.

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"We went there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, but we couldn't do it because there was muddy slush everywhere", Petrov said, referring to local landmarks.

The prime suspects also denied taking Novichok or a bottle of Nina Ricci perfume with them to the UK. "We didn't have it". According to them, they are businessmen not linked to the GRU and have nothing to do with the Skripal case. "We spent New Year in Switzerland".

"We pick up the most necessary, come here and decide how to deliver the new products from this market here".

The duo surfaced a day after President Vladimir Putin said Russian Federation had located Petrov and Boshirov, but that there was nothing special or criminal about them. How did it happen?

The Russian embassy in the United Kingdom reacted as it has throughout the Skripal saga, by tweeting a picture of newspaper coverage of the Salisbury case, adding: "Insults and ultimatums do not qualify as questions".

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