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Russian Poisoning Suspects: We Were Just Tourists

Russian Poisoning Suspects: We Were Just Tourists

Just as Vladimir Putin predicted they would, two Russian men wanted in Britain for poisoning a former Russian spy with a military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union appeared on Russian television on Thursday to profess their innocence.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov told the state-backed RT station that they were visiting the United Kingdom in March when they went on a brief sightseeing jaunt to Salisbury, according to The Daily Mail.

The pair, who claim that is their real names, said their friends had told them to visit "this wonderful town, Salisbury, which has a famous cathedral and 123m spire, and is famous for its clock". Boshirov said, referring to the small Nina Ricci vial which British authorities said had contained the poison.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, whom the United Kingdom accuse of trying to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal with a nerve agent in Salisbury, appeared on Russian television, saying they were in the English town as tourists.

British police have said they believe both men are using aliases. "We got wet, took the nearest train and came back to London".

United Kingdom prosecutors say they have obtained a European arrest warrant for two Russians, identified as Alexander Petrov (R) and Ruslan Boshirov (L), blamed for the Salisbury attack.

"Is it silly for decent lads to have women's perfume?", RT quoted Boshirov as saying in remarks translated into English. Putin said Russian officials "know who these people are" and called on the two men to talk to the media and "tell about themselves".

A government spokesman said: '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 second suspect, Ruslan Boshirov, said: "We spent no more than an hour in Salisbury, mainly because of the lags between trains". "I have seen nothing to suggest that has changed".

Russian Federation has repeatedly denied any involvement.

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.

A European arrest warrant has been issued for the two suspects, but British prosecutors say they will not ask Moscow to extradite Russian citizens because Russia's constitution forbids it. A Russian firm selling airline tickets is now advertising trips to Salisbury, saying the town's cathedral is a sight worth traveling all the way from Moscow to see. "We pick up the most necessary, come here and decide how to deliver the new products from this market here".

Asked by Simonyan whether they had the perfume bottle that had been shown as evidence by United Kingdom authorities, Boshirov said: "Is it silly for decent lads to have women's perfume?"

The journey was part of their holiday, they said, though they had also been in Europe to do business related to sports nutrition. They then went straight to the airport and flew home, hours after the Skripals were found unconscious on a bench.

An except of the full interview was shown on RT News on Thursday morning, and an additional transcript can be seen here.

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