Skripal suspects claim they were tourists

by Wade Massey September 15, 2018, 0:34
Skripal suspects claim they were tourists

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.

The men, who bore a strong resemblance to the pictures of the suspects released by Britain, made the claim in an interview with the head of the Kremlin-backed RT news network.

"What were you doing there?"

"Our friends had been suggesting for a long time that we visit this wonderful town", Petrov said of Salisbury.

At the same time, Boshirov said Salisbury is a tourist city and has a famous cathedral there, Salisbury Cathedral.

The British police believe the men to be officers of Russian military intelligence, GRU, who may have travelled on false passports to London from Moscow in March.

A spokesman for UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday described an interview of Skripal case suspects, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, with Russia's RT channel as an 'insult to the public's intelligence'.

Neither men have explained why they booked two alternative return flights from London to Moscow on Sunday or Monday and why they had no luggage with them.

The Center for European Reform tweeted that its director of foreign policy, Ian Bond, told the BBC that the interview could have meant to "cause confusion, put smoke out there to obscure the battlefield".

Britain has said the attack received approval "at a senior level of the Russian state", an accusation Moscow has fiercely denied.

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

As for the woman who interviewed them?

He bristled when Simonyan asked why the two men spent so much time together.

"We went to Salisbury on the 3rd [of March]", said Petrov.

Then, days later, President Vladimir Putin vouched for them as just ordinary guys and anything but would-be hit men.

Simonyan was mentioned 27 times in a report by U.S. intelligence agencies in January 2017 about Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Both men have admitted they may have ended-up outside the Skirpal's home purely by accident on the very same day they fell critically ill. From a credibility point of view, the British government must stick to that position, McCauley asserted.

CCTV footage showing Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov on Fisherton Road, Salisbury, on March 4.

The men are civilians and "we know who they are", Putin told an economic forum in Vladivostok on Wednesday in his first comments on the United Kingdom allegations.

Officers formally linked the attack on the Skripals to events in nearby Amesbury where Dawn Sturgess, 44, and her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, were exposed to the same nerve agent.

That was when a former Russian double agent and his daughter were stricken by a military-grade nerve agent, Novichok, that almost killed them.

Detectives believe it is likely the two Salisbury suspects, thought to be aged around 40, travelled under aliases and that Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names.

Nevertheless, web users were quick to ask why snow would stop two Russians, given their country's history of sub-zero conditions.

Boshirov said his life had been turned "upside down", according to RT.

He said only a comedian would be able to properly evaluate the interview.

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