Novichok Suspects: We Only Went To Salisbury To See The Cathedral


RT, a Russian state-funded television station, on Thursday aired an interview with two men it claimed have been accused of poisoning an ex-spy and his daughter in England earlier this year, Reuters reported.

The men, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, told the Kremlin-financed network Russia Today that they had traveled from Moscow to the English provincial city of Salisbury in March to visit its ancient cathedral, not to assassinate Sergei Skripal, a former double agent who sold secrets to Britain.

The men, who appeared to be about 40, claimed they did not know who Skripal was or where he lived.

"Our friends have been suggesting for a long time that we visit this wonderful town", Petrov said, while Boshirov added that they specifically wanted to see the cathedral's famous spire and clock. We came to RT for protection, but what we got was an interrogation.

Salisbury MP John Glen tweeted: "Delighted that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Borishov were able to see the world-class attractions that Salisbury has to offer".

"I think this is likely they will be found to be in breach of broadcasting code with regard to their failure to balance their coverage", Banister Dean said.

A spokesperson for the United Kingdom government said the two men who appeared on RT were the same men suspected of poisoning the Skripals.

"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", the statement said.

They travelled to and from Salisbury on the weekend in March that Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned.

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The network broadcast the interview with the suspects in the Novichok poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the United Kingdom on Thursday, even as it faces multiple ongoing investigations by media regulator Ofcom into its coverage of the attack in March.

"A tourist town", Boshirov said. It's famous not only in Europe, but in the whole world.

United Kingdom authorities blamed two former Russian agents, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, for the murder. "We got wet, took the nearest train and came back" to London, they told RT, Russia's state-run global broadcaster.

Boshirov also called on the United Kingdom to apologize for the allegations, claiming their lives had been "turned upside down". They had stayed less than hour in Salisbury, they said, because of bad weather.

Petrov said he and Boshirov had flown to London for a short leisure break, with Salisbury always intended as a day trip.

"We spent no more than an hour in Salisbury, mainly because of the lags between trains".

The affair returned to the headlines in July when a woman near Salisbury, Dawn Sturgess, died and her partner Charlie Rowley fell ill after Mr Rowley found a counterfeit bottle of Nina Ricci perfume containing the Novichok nerve agent and brought it home.

The British government says they're GRU officers who were ordered to carry out a high-profile assassination.

They declined to give any other details about their lives, except to say they work in the nutritional supplements business. 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.