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

Brenda Watkins
September 13, 2018

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British prosecutors last week identified two Russians, whom they said were operating under aliases - Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - and whom they accused of being the so-called "novichock two".

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are our real names.

The men, who United Kingdom authorities named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, said they were in Salisbury in March to see the famous Salisbury Cathedral.

They said they wanted to go to Stonehenge but were prevented from doing so because there was "muddy slush everywhere" so they got wet and went back to London an hour after arriving, as there was an intermittent weekend train service.

Britain last week charged Boshirov and Petrov in absentia, alleging they were agents of Russia's military intelligence agency known as the GRU who were dispatched to Salisbury, about 2 hours' drive southwest of London, to poison former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with the nerve agent Novichok.

RT, a Russian state-funded television station, on Thursday aired an interview with two men it claimed have been accused of poisoning an ex-spy and his daughter in England earlier this year, Reuters reported.

Statements by the two Russians "are not credible", the British lawmaker who represents the city in parliament said on Thursday.

RT editor Margarita Simonyan said the men contacted her themselves by calling her mobile number.

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"When your life turned upside down, you don't know what to do and where to go", Boshirov said.

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

CCTV footage of what appear to be the two walking in Salisbury on the day of the poisoning show little signs of slush or snow, as Max Seddon, Moscow correspondent for The Financial Times, pointed out on Twitter.

They said they may have approached Sergei Skripal's house by chance but did not know where it was located.

In this file grab taken from CCTV and issued by the Metropolitan Police in London on September 5, 2018, Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov walk on Fisherton Road, Salisbury, England, March 4, 2018.

The UK has described them as agents of Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU. So they returned the next day.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the two men had been identified by the Kremlin and insisted they were civilians and "not criminals". According to May, the assassination attempt was approved at "a senior level of the Russian state". The men denied having any poison or the counterfeit Nina Ricci perfume bottle that United Kingdom police say was used to transport the weapons-grade nerve agent.

The two men said they did not work for GRU, were ordinary businessmen, and the victim of what they called "a fantastical coincidence". "We didn't have it". They'd been "extremely nervous and sweating" during the interview and it's for viewers to decide whether to believe them, she said.

"The customs are checking everything", Boshirov said.

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