RT airs interview with Russians accused in United Kingdom poisoning

Sergei Skripal buying groceries near his Salisbury home

"Let them come out somewhere, to you in the media", he said, describing the men as "civilians".

Speaking at an economic forum in Eastern Russia Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russian authorities were aware of who the suspects were, but dismissed British claims they were linked to the GRU, Russia's foreign military intelligence agency.

"Our friends had been suggesting for a long time that we visit this wonderful town", Petrov replied.

"Salisbury?" their interviewer asked.

"The duo surfaced a day after President Putin said Russian Federation had located Petrov and Boshirov, but that there was nothing special or criminal about them. There's the famous Salisbury cathedral, famous not only in Europe but in the whole world, it's famous for its 123m spire, it's famous for its clock, one of the first ever created in the world that's still working".

"They have not done so so far", Singh said.

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.

While Moscow has been repeatedly castigated for alleged involvement in the poisoning of ex-double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the Kremlin maintains the allegations are not based on solid facts.

"Unlike the murderers of Litvinenko", wrote Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the USA think-tank Atlantic Council, "these two men are sent through the meat grinders".

He did not say why the pair have not yet spoken to deny their role in the mission.

The accusation that they are part of the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, was "the scariest thing" about the incident, Petrov said, according to the translation by RT.

Simonyan was mentioned 27 times in a report by USA intelligence agencies in January 2017 about Russian meddling in the 2016 election. We're ordinary businessmen trying to make it in the fitness industry.

Mr Boshirov said: "When your life is turned upside down, you don't know what to do and where to go". They added that they would like to receive an apology from British officials.

The Skripals and a police officer fell seriously ill.

When asked about the nerve agent Novichok, they emphatically denied carrying it, or the modified Nina Ricci perfume bottle, which United Kingdom investigators say contained the substance.

British investigators say the poison was transported in a fake perfume bottle.

The two accused men spoke on camera for almost 30 minutes, rarely smiling as they discussed their actions with RT's Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.

An image from footage released by Scotland Yard police shows suspect Alexander Petrov.

An except of the full interview was shown on RT News on Thursday morning, and an additional transcript can be seen here.

The reason their first visit to Salisbury was so brief was because they had been forced to cut it short due to snow, they said.

The two men said they had visited England purely to see tourist sites such as Stonehenge.

Simonyan's announcement comes a day after President Vladimir Putin said Russian Federation had located Petrov and Boshirov, but that there was nothing special or criminal about them. The Skripals were found collapsed on a park bench at 4:15 p.m.

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. We arrived in Salisbury on March 3 and tried to walk through the town, but we lasted for only half an hour because it was covered in snow. They returned the next day to see the sights.

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

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