Skripal poisoning suspects say they were in United Kingdom as 'tourists'

This whole situation is an incredible coincidence, and we just want to be left in peace.

"We believe it is utterly inadmissible to draw parallels between the authorities of Russia and the incident in Salisbury", he said adding that "accusing Russia of lies after an interview with two Russian nationals is absurd as well since they are ordinary citizens and have nothing to do with the government".

But when they were asked about the bottle of perfume that British man Charlie Rowley claims he found and gave to his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess, who later died of Novichok poisoning, one of them replied by asking, "Don't you think it's silly for straight men to have women's perfume with them?"

"There's the famous Salisbury cathedral". It's famous for its 123 metre-spire. "Its famous Salisbury cathedral, famous for its 123m spire...the clock... the oldest of its kind that is still working".

"The government is clear these men are officers of the Russian military intelligence service - the GRU - who used a devastatingly toxic, illegal chemical weapon on the streets of our country".

"We have repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury in March", Britain said.

'Today - just as we have seen throughout - they have responded with obfuscation and lies'.

Simonyan said the men had contacted her on her cellphone.

Britain accused Russian Federation of responding with "obfuscation and lies" after the RT interview was aired this morning. The affair has worsened Russian relations with the West, already under strain over Ukraine, Syria and other issues.

He bristled when Simonyan asked why the two men spent so much time together.

They travelled to and from Salisbury on the weekend in March that Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned.

Craig Murray, a former official who has faced criticism for pushing debunked conspiracy theories related to the poisoning, claimed on Twitter after the interview that the "most likely interpretation is that they are a gay couple..."

In a translation from Russian, the broadcaster quoted Petrov as saying: 'Well, we came there on March 2, then went to a railway station to see the timetable. British police have said they believe both men are using aliases.

"For normal blokes, to be carrying women's perfume with us, isn't..."

Boshirov also claimed snowy weather had prevented them from visiting Stonehenge, but a spokesman for bus operator Salisbury Reds told Mail Online that tour buses which people can catch from outside the station were running "as normal on Sunday 4 March".

The pair, named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, told the RT channel they had travelled to Salisbury to visit the cathedral on the recommendation of friends.

The alleged spies also went to lengths to challenge allegations that they carried the Novichok nerve agent in a perfume bottle. So, he said, they chose to take the train back to Salisbury the following day.

Both men have admitted they may have ended-up outside the Skirpal's home purely by accident on the very same day they fell critically ill. RT has a licence to operate in the United Kingdom but is under investigation by regulators over its coverage of the Salisbury affair.

"I'm frightened, I'm scared".

"This is not an interrogation", Boshirov said.

Putin expressed hope they would come forward and speak publicly.

British officials decried the interview, calling it "risible".

  • Marlene Weaver