'Up there with Monty Python': UK poison suspects' tale strains belief

Novichok suspects. Pic Russia Today

The two men accused by the United Kingdom of attempting to assassinate a Russian double-agent with nerve poison have defended themselves, claiming they were only at the site of the killing because they wanted to see a cathedral.

Two men with physical similarities to British police images of the suspects appeared on Russian state television station RT on Thursday, denying they were military intelligence officers.

"Our friends had been suggesting for a long time we visit this wonderful town". 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 have repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury in March", he added.

The British government on Thursday issued a statement after the interview was released, reiterating their claim that Russian authorities were lying about the case. Simonyan tweeted in Russian earlier that Petrov and Boshirov had "refused to give interviews to anyone else, not even our journalists, as they said, they know me on the air and read my social networks and therefore, again they said they trust me". "We got wet, took the nearest train and came back to London".

"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.

Russian Federation has repeatedly denied any involvement.

The nerve agent used to poison the Skripals was smuggled to Britain in a counterfeit Nina Ricci perfume bottle and applied to the front door of their house, according to Metropolitan Police.

But Salisbury MP John Glen said their statements are not credible and what they have said does not match intelligence the United Kingdom has on them. They said they're partners in a business importing athletic food supplements from Europe.

They said that if the real poisoners are found, they would like to hear an apology and would not have come forward if Russian President Vladimir Putin had not suggested it.

In an address to the Easter Economic Forum in Vladivostok, he said: 'Of course, we looked who these people are.

RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said the pair had called her mobile because they wanted to tell their story.

On September 5, Britain formally charged Petrov and Boshirov over Skripal's poisoning, and that of his daughter Yulia, in March of this year.

He wrote on Twitter: 'Delighted that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Borishov [sic] were able to see the world-class attractions that #Salisbury has to offer.

Mr Skripal is a former GRU agent who secretly spied for Britain before being pardoned by the Kremlin and exchanged with among others - glamour agent Anna Chapman.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May says the two men are Russian intelligence officers, claims which they and the Russian government has denied. Boshirov also called on the United Kingdom to apologize for the allegations, claiming their lives had been "turned upside down".

They spent weeks in hospital before being discharged. We went through the corridor together, we always [do it] together.

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