Russians accused of poisoning ex-spy say they were just ‘tourists’

Carla Harmon
September 13, 2018

Detectives believe it is likely the two suspects, thought to be aged around 40, travelled under aliases and that Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names.

"When your life turned upside down, you don't know what to do and where to go", Boshirov said.

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

Two Russians appeared on state television on Thursday, saying they had been wrongly accused by Britain of trying to murder a former Russian spy and his daughter in England and had been visiting Salisbury in March for tourism.

On September 5, British Prime Minister Theresa May briefed parliament on the progress of the investigation into the Salisbury incident, saying that two Russians were suspected of an attempt on the lives of the Skripals and that British special services suspected they were GRU agents.

Mr Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, who are recovering at a safe house in the United Kingdom, were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury in March, having been poisoned with the nerve agent novichok. Both survived after long stays in the hospital.


Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov denied working for the Russian military intelligence service.

The pair were identified by the British government as being responsible for the March attack on Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33.

British officials dismissed their claims and said they stood by allegations that the poison attack was approved at the highest levels of the Russian government. "We got wet, took the nearest train and came back" to London, they told RT, Russia's state-run worldwide broadcaster.

In this file grab taken from CCTV and issued by the Metropolitan Police in London on September 5, 2018, Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov walk on Fisherton Road, Salisbury, England, March 4, 2018.

Then she asked whether they had the Nina Ricci perfume bottle that had been shown as evidence.

In the men's first interview since they were named publicly they denied carrying women's perfume.


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

RT editor Margarita Simonyan said the men contacted her themselves by calling her mobile number.

The Kremlin-backed station aired the interview a day after President Vladimir Putin said Russian Federation had identified the men sought by Britain and urged them to address the media.

After a six month investigation, Scotland Yard released a detailed account of the pair's alleged movements from Friday, March 2 to Sunday, March 4. 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. Britain said the attack was nearly certainly approved "at a senior level of the Russian state", an allegation that Moscow has vehemently denied. An Interpol red notice and a European Arrest Warrant were issued, but extradition is impossible as it is forbidden by the Russian state.

United Kingdom authorities have pinned the poisoning on two Russian men they believe are intelligence officers, and charged them in their absence with conspiracy to murder, attempted murder and use of the nerve agent Novichok.

'We have repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury in March.


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