Salisbury nerve attack suspects say they were in United Kingdom as tourists

Anna Chapman is best known for hosting a long-running show mixing anti-US rhetoric with conspiracy theories and mysticism

According to the British version of the case, on March 4 former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal, convicted in Russian Federation of spying for Britain, and his daughter Yulia were affected by a Novichok class nerve agent in Salisbury.

The British government says they're GRU officers who were ordered to carry out a high-profile assassination.

"Our friends recommended a long time ago that we visit that wonderful city", the man identifying himself as Petrov told RT.

"Salisbury?" their interviewer asked.

British security services had named the men as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, but said these were likely to be aliases.

"There's the famous Salisbury cathedral, famous not just in Europe, but in the whole world".

Claiming to be interested in the history of the local area, they praised Salisbury Cathedral for its "123-metre spire and its clock, one of the first ever created in the world that's still working".

However, a European Arrest Warrant has been obtained in case they travel to the EU, and UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has warned that the men will be caught and prosecuted if they ever step out of Russian Federation.

While Moscow has been repeatedly castigated for alleged involvement in the poisoning of ex-double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the Kremlin maintains the allegations are not based on solid facts.

So what were these two men really doing in Salisbury?

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Putin says suspects in Novichok poisoning are ‘civilians’
In an address to the Easter Economic Forum in Vladivostok , he said: 'Of course, we looked who these people are. Russian state TV channel Rossiya-24 said the suspect named as Alexander Petrov would maybe speak next week.

He did not say why the pair have not yet spoken to deny their role in the mission.

He tweeted that he was "delighted" the men were able to visit Salisbury's "world-class attractions", but said it was "very odd to come all this way for just two days while carrying Novichok in their luggage".

When asked to state where he works, Petrov demurred, saying, "If we tell you about our business, people we work with will be affected". We're ordinary businessmen trying to make it in the fitness industry. "I don't know what to expect tomorrow", said Boshirov.

The network broadcast the interview with the suspects in the Novichok poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the United Kingdom on Thursday, even as it faces multiple ongoing investigations by media regulator Ofcom into its coverage of the attack in March.

The affair returned to the headlines in July when a woman near Salisbury, Dawn Sturgess, died and her partner Charlie Rowley fell ill after Rowley found a counterfeit bottle of Nina Ricci perfume containing the Novichok nerve agent and brought it home. While they acknowledged being the pair seen in images released by Scotland Yard, the men did not provide proof of their names.

Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov made their first public appearance in an interview with the RT channel, saying that they had visited Salisbury as tourists to see its famous cathedral.

The two men said they had visited England purely to see tourist sites such as Stonehenge.

British police used surveillance camera footage from airports, transit stations, and elsewhere to outline the pair's movements.

London believes that Putin personally sanctioned the attack. They traveled to the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, East London, where they stayed on Friday, 2 March, and Saturday, 3 March.

They had been for lunch at a restaurant in central Salisbury on 4 March when they were found "in an extremely serious condition" on a bench outside the restaurant. "Maybe we did [approach] Skripal's house, but we don't know where is it located".

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