The two men named as suspects in the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in the UK – Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov – have been speaking to RT, Russia’s state-run international broadcaster. They claim they were merely tourists visiting the English town of Salisbury at the time the poisoning happened. Here are key excerpts of their interview.
“Well, we came there [to the UK] on 2 March, then went to a railway station to see the timetable. We arrived in Salisbury on 3 March and tried to walk through the town, but we lasted for only half an hour because it was covered in snow,” Mr Petrov said.
“Of course, we went there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, but we couldn’t do it because there was muddy slush everywhere. The town was covered by this slush. We got wet, took the nearest train and came back [to London].”
“We spent no more than an hour in Salisbury, mainly because of the lags between trains,” Mr Boshirov said. “Maybe we did [approach] Skripal’s house, but we don’t know where is it located.”
When the interviewer asked them whether they had Novichok or any poison with them, they emphatically said no.
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Then she asked whether they had the Nina Ricci perfume bottle that had been shown as evidence.
“Is it silly for decent lads to have women’s perfume? The customs are checking everything, they would have questions as to why men have women’s perfume in their luggage. We didn’t have it,” Mr Boshirov said.
Both men sounded distressed as they spoke about how their lives had changed since they were named in the UK as Russian intelligence agents who attempted to poison the Skripals.
“When your life [is] turned upside down, you don’t know what to do and where to go. We’re afraid of going out, we fear for ourselves, our lives and the lives of our loved ones,” Mr Boshirov said.
Asked whether they had recently been to any European state, the two said they had.
“Sure… In Switzerland, we were a couple of times… We spent New Year in Switzerland.”
The journey was part of their holiday, they said, though they had also been in Europe to do business related to sports nutrition.
“We examine the market, look if there is something new – some biologically active additives, amino acids, vitamins, microelements. We pick up the most necessary, come here and decide how to deliver the new products from this market here.”