Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Salisbury nerve attack suspects say they were in United Kingdom as tourists

CCTV footage of the two Russian suspects taken near the Skripal's home in Salisbury CCTV footage of the two Russian suspects taken near the Skripal's home in Salisbury
Rosie Leonard | 14 September, 2018, 15:36

They told state-controlled outlet RT News that they were in Salisbury, where Skripal and his daughter were poisoned, because their friends had recommended its "famous cathedral".

In an interview with RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan, the two men displayed a detailed knowledge of Salisbury cathedral, noting its 123-meter spire and clock, the "first of its kind anywhere in the world". They looked well-built and Boshirov wore what looked like a red Kabbalah bracelet.

"When your life [is] turned upside down, you don't know what to do and where to go". "Their lips move, words come out, but it is the action of putting these men forward that sends the message that Putin is proud of what they did". United Kingdom authorities blamed two former Russian agents, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, for the murder.

Putin's defiant stance echoed the Kremlin's approach to the 2006 case when his spies were accused of murdering former Russian security officer Alexander Litvinenko in London using radioactive polonium.

On September 5, British Prime Minister Theresa May informed the British parliament about the outcome of the investigation into the Salisbury incident, stating that two Russians, whom British intelligence services consider to be Main Intelligence Directorate agents, are suspected of the attempted murder of the Skripals.

Officers formally linked the attack on the Skripals to events in nearby Amesbury where Dawn Sturgess, 44, and her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, were exposed to the same nerve agent. He said they were innocent and "nothing criminal" about them, apparently contradicting accusations by Scotland Yard that they were agents of Russian military intelligence. Their names are believed to be aliases.

They spent New Year's Eve in Switzerland and have been to Vienna, the pair said. However, Russia does not extradite its own citizens and, like with Litvinenko's alleged killers, there is little chance they will ever face justice. "It was nearly certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state".

On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin called for the two men to speak to the media.

"Is it silly for decent lads to have women's perfume?", RT quoted Boshirov as saying in remarks translated into English.

British authorities said the suspects travelled to Salisbury twice to get ready for the attack and then carry it out. "We didn't have it".

And British journalists have been mocking the story on Twitter, highlighting the improbability of the pair's itinerary and route if they were truly tourists.

They flew from Moscow to London on Friday, March 2.

Wearing sweaters and appearing uncomfortable with the questioning, the two men claimed that they travelled as tourists to Salisbury and explained that they made two trips to Salisbury after bad weather hampered their first day trip. The PM's spokesman said today: "The lies and blatant fabrications in this interview, given to a Russian state sponsored TV station, are an insult to the public's intelligence, and more importantly they are deeply offensive to the victims and loved ones of this horrific attack".

They again were recorded in the center of town an hour later and were at the station by 1:50 p.m., two hours after arriving.

In the interview with RT, Boshirov denied those claims, saying they had traveled that day to see Stonehenge, but "couldn't do it" because "the town was covered by this slush".

In the 25-minute video, the pair said they now fear for their lives, and hinted that British secret services want to bring them harm.

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