Russians accused over Salisbury poisoning were in city 'as tourists'

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As of 12:00AM AEST RT finally posted the entire interview, available on YouTube with English subtitles, however it appears that RT's video was removed less than three hours later.

Confusion also persists around the UK's claims that that the names Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov are merely aliases, and separate reports that they had traveled under specially issued passports.

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

Replying to the interviewer's question why the pair went to Salisbury for two days in a row, Boshirov said that when they first got to the town it was snowy and they got wet so they chose to take the train back.

So while they were seen close to the Skripals' house they would also have had enough time to see the cathedral.

Both men sounded distressed as they spoke about how their lives had changed since they were named in the United Kingdom as Russian intelligence agents who attempted to poison the Skripals.

On March 4, former Russian intelligence officer and convicted British spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were allegedly poisoned with a nerve agent, according to British investigators.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May says the two men are Russian intelligence officers, claims which they and the Russian government has denied.

RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said the pair had called her mobile because they wanted to tell their story. "We're afraid of going out, we fear for ourselves, our lives and the lives of our loved ones", Mr Boshirov said.

The UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) says there is enough evidence to convict the two men, although it is not applying to Russian Federation for their extradition because Russian Federation does not extradite its own nationals.

"The whole situation is an incredible, fatal coincidence, and that's that", Petrov said.

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RT's interview with UK's suspects in the Skripal case has triggered a troll storm on TripAdvisor, as the page of the Salisbury Cathedral got raided by users posing as Russian agents.

"An illegal chemical weapon has been used on the streets of this country".

"They made their initial booking - and checked in online - at 2000 [8pm] GMT [10pm Moscow time] on 1 March 2018, the night before their short trip to London and Salisbury", Bellingcat said.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin described the two men as "civilians".

RT ran part of the interview on Thursday morning, in which Petrov said: "We are those shown to you in the (CCTV) pictures".

The affair returned to the headlines in July when a woman near Salisbury, Dawn Sturgess, died and her partner Charlie Rowley fell ill after Mr Rowley found a counterfeit bottle of Nina Ricci perfume containing the Novichok nerve agent and brought it home. "We didn't have it".

British officials dismissed their claims and said they stood by allegations that the poison attack was approved at the highest levels of the Russian government. They spent weeks in hospital before being discharged.

DW takes a closer look at what the two suspects said. Sadly, it is what we have come to expect.

"No, initially we planned to go to London and have some fun there".

"One goes, the other waits". How did it happen?

When asked if they were carrying Novichok with them, both Petrov and Boshirov laughed it off.

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