Politics

Russians accused in UK spy case say they were tourists

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. Rosanna Philpott reports.

RUSSIA / SALISBURY AND LONDON, ENGLAND (RT / REUTERS) – Two Russian men appeared on state television on Thursday (September 13) to say their recent trip to the UK city of Salisbury was not to murder a former Russian spy, but to visit its famous cathedral.

RUSSIAN CITIZEN, ALEXANDER PETROV:

“Our friends have advised us for a while to visit this beautiful city.”

Last week British prosecutors named the suspects in the Novichok nerve agent attack as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, adding that those were probably aliases.

CCTV footage was also released placing the men near Sergei Skripal’s home on the day of the alleged attack and evidence that traces of Novichok were found in their London hotel room.

In an interview on Russia’s state-funded RT, they confirmed it was them in those pictures

RT HEAD MARGARITA SIMONYAN:

“These are you real names?”

RUSSIAN CITIZEN, ALEXANDER PETROV:

“Yes.”

RUSSIAN CITIZEN, RUSLAN BOSHIROV:

“Yes these are our real names.”

The UK government detailed how the men arrived on March 2 and flew back to Moscow on March 4, the day Skripal and his daughter were found slumped on a bench.

The pair claiming to be Petrov and Boshirov said they had been in Salisbury for less than an hour because of bad weather.

They were, they said, ordinary businessmen on holiday – merely victims of a quote “fantastical coincidence.”

RUSSIAN CITIZEN, RUSLAN BOSHIROV:

“This is a tourist city. They have a famous cathedral there: The Salisbury Cathedral. It is famous not only in Europe but all over the world I think. It is famous for its 123 meter spire, it is famous for its clock, the first clock that was invented in the world and which is still working today.”

On Thursday Salisbury lawmaker John Glen poured scorn on that claim – saying that though he was delighted they could visit the world-class attractions his city has to offer, their statements are simply not credible.


Associated Links

  • Television
  • Mass media
  • Broadcasting
  • RT
  • State media
  • Mick Philpott

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