Russians claiming to be Salisbury suspects say they were just tourists

CCTV footage of the two Russian suspects taken near the Skripal's home in Salisbury

Petrov and Boshirov, both charged in absentia by Britain last week for trying to kill Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with the nerve agent Novichok, went on the Kremlin-funded RT satellite channel Thursday to proclaim their innocence, deny they were agents of the military intelligence service widely known as the GRU, and say they were merely tourists in the city southwest of London.

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

The pair, who claim that is their real names, said their friends had told them to visit "this wonderful town, Salisbury, which has a famous cathedral and 123m spire, and is famous for its clock".

United Kingdom prosecutors say they have obtained a European arrest warrant for two Russians, identified as Alexander Petrov (R) and Ruslan Boshirov (L), blamed for the Salisbury attack. "We came to you for protection, but this is turning into some kind of interrogation".

Salisbury MP John Glen tweeted: "Delighted that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Borishov were able to see the world-class attractions that Salisbury has to offer".

The men also denied that they had smuggled the Novichok nerve agent used to poison Skripal, and four other people, into Britain disguised as perfume.

Skripal - a former Russian military intelligence colonel who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain's MI6 foreign intelligence service - and his daughter were found slumped unconscious on a bench in the English city of Salisbury in March.

This still taken from CCTV and issued by the Metropolitan Police in London on Wednesday Sept. 5, 2018, shows Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov at Salisbury train station on March 3, 2018.

Britain accused Russian Federation of responding with "obfuscation and lies" after the RT interview was aired this morning.

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.

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"The customs are checking everything", Boshirov said.

'Salisbury welcomes tourists from around the world and is very much open for business.

Scotland Yard and MI5 say they are GRU spies sent to murder Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia after carrying enough novichok to wipe out 4,000 civilians into Britain on a plane from Russian Federation.

In going public as the Russian men accused by London of carrying out deadly poisonings on English soil, Ruslan Boshirov and Aleksandr Petrov both expressed and generated disbelief at the same time.

Boshirov said his life had been turned "upside down", according to RT. "We got wet, took the nearest train and came back" to London, they told RT, Russia's state-run global broadcaster.

"Maybe we did [approach] Skripal's house", Boshirov added, "but we don't know where is it located".

Simonyan said during the interview that the two men called her cellphone, asking to tell their story.

"More importantly, they are deeply offensive to the victims and loved ones of this horrific attack", he said. "We didn't have it", Mr Boshirov said. "We spent New Year in Switzerland".

A police officer who visited the home of the Skripals shortly after the attack, Nick Bailey, was also left critically ill from exposure to the substance.

The men are civilians and "we know who they are", Putin told an economic forum in Vladivostok on Wednesday in his first comments on the United Kingdom allegations.

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