Last week, British police identified Russian nationals Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov as the two prime suspects in the March poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. This week, the two men appeared on RT to assert their innocence and claimed they were visiting the small town of Salisbury not to expose Skripal to the nerve agent Novichok, but to check out a cathedral.
“There’s the famous Salisbury cathedral, famous not just in Europe, but in the whole world. It’s famous for its 123-metre spire, it’s famous for its clock, the first one ever created in the world, which is still working,” said Boshirov.
“Our friends had been suggesting for a long time that we visit this wonderful town,” Petrov added. British police have said they believe both men are using aliases.
Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service has charged the two men, who are alleged to be members of the Russian intelligence agency, with conspiracy to murder, among other charges. But Vladimir Putin has denied that these men had anything to do with the poisoning and that they’re in any way attached to the Kremlin. “These are civilians,” he said this week. “There’s nothing especially criminal there, I assure you.”
In the RT interview, the two men said they’re not Russian agents, describing themselves as “second-tier businessmen” in the fitness industry. They admitted to visiting Salisbury twice, once on March 3 and again on the fourth. Police say the first visit was to stake out the town and the second to poison the Skripals. But the Russians say they were simply trying to drink in all that the city had to offer. Their first day in Salisbury was cut short, they said because of bad weather. So they returned the next day. “We were just taking in the English gothic,” Boshirov said.