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Skripal poisoning: Suspects say they were in Salisbury to see cathedral

Skripal poisoning: Suspects say they were in Salisbury to see cathedral

The two Russian men accused of carrying out the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter did not exist before 2009, according to an examination of their passport records.

But many were quick to point out that on March 4, the second day the two Russians visited Salisbury, the snow from previous days had cleared, and both CCTV images of Ruslan and Boshirov, and pictures taken by the Journal when the Skripals fell ill show completely unobstructed pathways.

Two Russians resembling men Britain accuses of jetting to England to murder a former spy said on Thursday that they were innocent tourists who had flown to London for fun and visited the city of Salisbury to see its cathedral.

A still image taken from a video footage and released by RT global news channel on September 13, 2018, shows two Russian men with the same names, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, as those accused by Britain over the case of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, during an interview at an unidentified location, Russia. Two other people were affected and a woman, Dawn Sturgess, died in July after spraying herself with nerve agent after discovering the discarded bottle.

They spoke to Russia Today in an interview slammed by the British government as "an insult to the public's intelligence". "Maybe we passed it, or maybe we didn't", said Boshirov.

The men said they worked in the sports nutrition business and had travelled to London for a short holiday, fitting in a couple of day trips to Salisbury.

"Friends have been telling us for a long time we should visit this handsome city", said the broad-shouldered Petrov.

Scotland Yard has said that they believe Petrov and Boshirov to be pseudonyms and that the men's real identities have been covered up by the Russian government.

"They are civilians", Putin said, adding there was nothing criminal about them.

The men had some physical similarities to the men shown in British police images.

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The full unedited interview still hasn't been published online but the RT anchors addressed the obvious question of why these two men would approach RT, a cable network whose audience is primarily people outside of Russian Federation.

The pair said their lives were turned upside down after they were publicly named by United Kingdom police.

The BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Moscow described the interview as carefully choreographed and freakish, pointing out that in tone and content it matched the whole Russian response to the case - flat denial mixed with mockery.

British police have said they believe both men are using aliases. "Our plan was to spend some time in London and then to visit Salisbury", Petrov said.

Moscow has refused to extradite the two men Britain suspects of killing Litvinenko, and one of them, Andrei Lugovoi, went on to become a Russian lawmaker.

"As they said - and this is their words not mine - that this is their first and last interview to the media ever".

What happened to the Skripals?

But British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement to the House of Commons last week that the Russian nationals were wanted for the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and attending police officer Nick Bailey on March 4.

"On Saturday, 3 March, they left the hotel and took the underground to Waterloo station, arriving at approximately 11.45am, where they caught a train to Salisbury, arriving at approximately 2.25pm". They recovered after treatment in the hospital.