Accused Russian Hit Men: We Were in Salisbury for Sightseeing, Not Poisoning

Sergio Cunningham
September 13, 2018

A still image taken from a video footage and released by RT worldwide 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.

The men, who United Kingdom authorities named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, said they were in Salisbury in March to see the famous Salisbury Cathedral.

When Simonyan seemed to express some surprise at this characterization of an English city that is not well-known overseas, Boshirov answered simply "Yes". Those details are not common knowledge for most Britons, but they are available on the Wikipedia page of the cathedral. They were, they insisted, involved in the import of supplements and other items of interest to sports nutritionists.

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. "Don't you think it's silly for straight men to have women's perfume with them?"

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov told RT's editor-in-chief they had nothing to do with the Skripals' poisoning. "All footage features you two together", she told them.

The two Russian men, who say they are both about 40, were identified last week as suspects by the British government.

They said they spent no more than an hour in the English city and left because of bad weather.

Russian Federation has repeatedly denied any involvement in the incidents. So they returned the next day.

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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.

Replying to the interviewer's question why the pair went to Salisbury for two days in a row, Boshirov said that when they first got to the town it was snowy and they got wet so they chose to take the train back.

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

"We went there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, but we couldn't do it because there was muddy slush everywhere", Petrov said, referring to local landmarks.

They said they may have approached Skripal's house by chance but did not know where it was located.

"Well, we came there [to the UK] on 2 March, then went to a railway station to see the timetable. We didn't have it", Boshirov said.

When asked by RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan whether they also had a counterfeit bottle of designer perfume United Kingdom police said contained the nerve agent, Borishov said: "Isn't it silly for decent lads to have women's perfume?"

He tweeted that he was "delighted" the men were able to visit Salisbury's "world-class attractions", but said it was "very odd to come all this way for just two days while carrying Novichok in their luggage". Before all this, we had no idea who Sergey Skripal is.

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