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

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Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, two Russians over the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, conducted a weird interview Thursday.

The Skripal case has been likened by British politicians to the murder of Russian dissident ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with a rare radioactive isotope in a London hotel in 2006.

RT said the men sounded distressed and were sweating as they spoke.

The two men accused by the United Kingdom of attempting to assassinate a Russian double-agent with nerve poison have defended themselves, claiming they were only at the site of the killing because they wanted to see a cathedral.

"Our friends had been suggesting for a long time we visit this wonderful town".

"Salisbury?" their interviewer asked.

"We walked around, enjoying those lovely English Gothic buildings", Boshirov said. It's famous not only 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".

"Ofcom looks at these cumulatively", Stephens said, "but there comes a point when there are so many breaches that they aren't regarded as a fit and proper person to carry a license".

Downing Street on Thursday called the RT interview "an insult to the public's intelligence".

And British journalists have been mocking the story on Twitter, highlighting the improbability of the pair's itinerary and route if they were truly tourists.

Two Russians have appeared on state television, saying they had been wrongly accused by Britain of trying to murder a former Russian spy and his daughter in England and they had visited Salisbury in March for tourism.

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The Russian government has denied involvement in the poisoning.

"Unlike the murderers of Litvinenko", wrote Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the U.S. think-tank Atlantic Council, "these two men are sent through the meat grinders". British intelligence services say the names are likely aliases, used for a mission in which they failed to kill Skripal.

Walters also highlighted that the weather conditions apparently did not deter the two from walking an even greater distance to the Srkipal home, which they said in the interview that they might have approached.

"In short, it's the fitness industry, it is about sports nutrition, vitamins, proteins, microelements", the men explained.

The Skripals and a police officer fell seriously ill.

The prime suspects also denied taking Novichok or a bottle of Nina Ricci perfume with them to the UK.

The Kremlin-backed station aired the interview a day after President Vladimir Putin said Russian Federation had identified the men sought by Britain and urged them to address the media. RT ran part of the interview on Thursday morning, in which Petrov said: "We are those shown to you in the (CCTV) pictures".

The two added that they had planned to visit London on their trip, but a snowstorm hindered their plans. The Skripals were found collapsed on a park bench at 4:15 p.m.

"At 3pm on Friday, 2 March, the suspects arrived at Gatwick airport, having flown from Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2588".

Southwestern Railway confirmed to Sky News there were engineering works that weekend and no direct trains from London to Salisbury, so they would have had to change at Basingstoke.

"They are believed to have taken a similar route when they returned to London on the afternoon of Saturday, 3 March".

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