Skripal poisoning suspects say they were tourists in UK

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The men, identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, told RT that they made the trek from Moscow for a three day visit to the British town of Salisbury last March for the objective of sightseeing - and not, as the United Kingdom government alleges, to poison Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov confirmed they are the men accused of carrying out the attack in the interview with RT.

Petrov and Boshirov claim to have been visiting the "wonderful town" of Salisbury, England, to see its famous cathedral. "It's famous for its 123 meter spire, it's famous for its clock, one of the first ever created in the world that's still working".

Just a day after President Vladimir Putin urged them to come forward, the two Russians the United Kingdom accuses of carrying out a nerve-agent attack on a former spy denied the charges in an interview with RT state television.

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. "We got wet, took the train and came back [to London]", the pair told RT before adding that they returned to Salisbury the following day "to see the Old Sarum and the cathedral".

Boshirov said the two men were innocent and denied they had carried the Novichok nerve agent used in the attack.

Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said "there is nothing criminal about them" and called them "civilians".

The UK has described them as agents of Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU.

"Where there is a controversy, they have to not give undue prominence to a particular side, so where we in the United Kingdom are saying these people were officers of the Russian state and assisted by the Russian state, RT have effectively majorly focused on the Russian perspective to the story", said Emma Banister Dean, a partner at Royds Withy King. "I have seen nothing to suggest that has changed".

Russian state TV channel Rossiya-24 said Mr Petrov would give an interview to them next week, but just a day later both suspects have spoken to RT.

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The City Stay Hotel, where Russian suspects Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov stayed, is pictured in Bow, east London, on September 5, 2018.

Russian Federation has repeatedly denied any involvement in the incidents.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov told RT's editor-in-chief they had nothing to do with the Skripals' poisoning. "Isn't it silly for decent lads to have women's perfume?"

They had been for lunch at a restaurant in central Salisbury on 4 March when they were found "in an extremely serious condition" on a bench outside the restaurant. They denied the allegation and Russian Federation refused to extradite them.

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

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.

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

"CCTV shows them in the vicinity of Mr Skripal's house and we believe that they contaminated the front door with Novichok".

If the pair really were sight-seeing tourists, they made quick work of it, arriving in London from Moscow on a Friday afternoon and leaving Sunday night - after two visits to Salisbury.

Police believe Dawn Sturgess, 44, and her partner, 45-year-old Charlie Rowley, had accidentally found the Novichok-laced perfume bottle, exposing them to the toxic nerve agent.

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