Skripal suspects in the United Kingdom as 'tourists'

Hannah Rogers
September 17, 2018

British authorities have charged Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov with conspiracy to murder Sergei and Yulia Skripal and Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey. So they returned the next day.

Two Russian men accused by Britain of poisoning a former Russian spy and his daughter in England said on Thursday they had been the victims of a "fantastical coincidence" and were simply Russian businessmen on holiday overseas.

The editor in chief was quoted by another television station in Russian Federation as saying to her surprise the two spoke in some detail about their work and how they earn their living. Relations between the United Kingdom and Russian Federation, already frosty, plunged into crisis after the attack. The pair were also picked up by CCTV footage in the vicinity of the Skripal house on the day of the attack, March 4, which is in the opposite direction of the cathedral from the train station. They were both since discharged from the hospital. A woman later died after coming in contact with the nerve agent. Russian Federation has repeatedly denied those claims. The station said it would air more of the interview later. "They have nothing to do with the Russian state", Peskov said.

"The only thing I can agree with them on is that Salisbury is a fantastic place, and I will be doing all I can with business leaders to promote tourism next year and beyond".

The two Russians entered the United Kingdom on an Aeroflot flight on March 2, departing March 4, according to the U.K.'s counter-terrorism police chief, Neil Basu.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were apparently partying at the City Stay Hotel, in Bow, east London, on March 3, it was alleged.

Prosecutors say Petrov and Boshirov work for Russian military intelligence, which President Vladimir Putin has denied. "This was not a rogue operation", she said.

The TV station recorded the interview on Wednesday evening, just hours after President Vladimir Putin said Russian Federation had identified the men sought by Britain and urged them to address the media.

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They also said they worked in the fitness industry, not the Russian military, and that they'd been in fear of their lives since Britain outed them as being responsible for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with Novichok in England.

The men identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov speaking to the RT channel in Moscow.

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. "There is nothing unusual or criminal there, I assure you".

The pair said: "Our friends had been telling us for some time we should visit this extraordinary town".

"The truth is that the Russian state was complicit in this attempted murder and our allies have reacted in line with the findings the prime minister shared last week", he added.

- The second oldest in the United Kingdom.

Moscow has denied the allegations.

It has already been reported in Russian media that the passport numbers of the men are separated by only three digits (-1294 and -1297) meaning they were issued at nearly exactly the same time.

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