Skripal suspects in the United Kingdom as 'tourists'

Skripal suspects in the United Kingdom as 'tourists'

Skripal suspects in the United Kingdom as 'tourists'

Last week, British police identified Russian nationals Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov as the two prime suspects in the March poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

A screengrab taken on September 13, 2018, from footage broadcast by Russia's state broadcaster Russia Today (RT), shows two men, purported to be Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov taking part in a television interview.

"What were you doing there?"

Ofcom said in April that since the Salisbury attack they had observed "a significant increase in the number of programs on the RT service that we consider warrant investigation as potential breaches of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code". "Its famous Salisbury cathedral, famous for its 123m spire...the clock... the oldest of its kind that is still working".

The two men's story, particularly their claim that they cut their visit short because of cold weather, and a light dusting of snow, was widely mocked by foreign correspondents in Moscow. They denied the British claim that they were Russian military intelligence officers, saying they work in the nutritional supplements business.

As Russians digested Thursday's weird interview on Russia's state-sponsored TV channel with Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, the men's itinerary was one thing that didn't add up for people here, even those who don't think Moscow stands behind Skripal's poisoning.

The investigation, Bellingcat said, showed that, while the two men were registered in the central Russian resident database and were issued internal passports under their names in 2009, no records exist for the two prior to 2009.

At one point their interviewer turned on an air conditioning unit because she noted they were sweating.

The RT interview appeared to show that Russian Federation was not planning to deny the veracity of video evidence released by Scotland Yard, but to argue it had been misinterpreted.

The interviewer, RT's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan, at times seemed more interested in insinuations about the men's personal relationship than their alleged military status.

"We are looking at this November deadline absolutely, we plan to impose a very severe second round of sanctions", she said.

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The men denied having any poison or the counterfeit Nina Ricci perfume bottle that United Kingdom police say was used to transport the weapons-grade nerve agent.

Then, days later, President Vladimir Putin vouched for them as just ordinary guys and anything but would-be hit men.

Their interviewer did not ask them to account for Novichok traces which British police said were found in their hotel room.

There is "sufficient evidence" to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov over the attack in Salisbury, British police and prosecutors say.

They also confirmed that they had travelled to Europe before.

Petrov and Boshirov also denied they were military intelligence officers.

Ben Nimmo, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab, called the interview "a piece of political theater".

Boshirov said they "maybe approached Skripal's house" while they walked around the city, "but ... didn't know where it was".

The pair said their lives were turned upside down after they were publicly named by United Kingdom police.

"Is it not silly for decent lads to have women's perfume?". "They said they would not go to the studio and only agreed to do the interview in her office".

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