'We were in Salisbury for its cathedral', say Novichok attack suspectsComments
The two Russians accused of poisoning Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, say they only visited the city to see its cathedral.
Police released CCTV pictures of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov earlier this month and say the pair were behind an attack using the deadly Novichok nerve agent.
The pair, in an interview with Russia Today, claimed they visited the southern city as tourists and had stayed only briefly because of bad weather.
Petrov and Boshirov claim they are now afraid to go out after being accused by Britain of being behind the attacks.
"The lies and blatant fabrications in this interview given to a Russian state-sponsored TV station are an insult to the public's intelligence," Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman told reporters. "More importantly they are deeply offensive to the victims and loved ones of this horrific attack."
Double agent Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury on March 4.
They spent weeks in hospital but both have now been released.
Police claimed earlier this month Petrov and Boshirov arrived from Russia at Gatwick Airport on March 2 and stayed in east London.
They made a test run to Salisbury on March 3, spending before returning on Sunday morning where they were captured on CCTV near Skripal’s house. Authorities claim they contaminated the Skripal's front door with the nerve agent.
A few months later Dawn Sturgess, 44, died after she and her partner Charlie Rowley were exposed to the same substance in nearby Amesbury.
Rowley found what he thought was a box of perfume and gave it to Sturgess as a present. It was later revealed to contain Novichok.
During the two days the pair were in the UK, they spent more than thirteen and a half hours travelling to and from Salisbury and a little under four hours in the city, according to British police.
Here is a transcript of the portion of the interview aired on RT.
RT: You called me on my cell phone and told me that you are Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Borishov. You really look like the pictures, shown to us by the UK, who are you?
Petrov: We are those who were shown to you in the pictures, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Borishov.
RT: Are those your real names?
RT: Even now when you are talking about it, to tell the truth, you look very nervous?
Petrov: What would you look like?
Borishov: When your life is turned upside down in just one moment, in just one day it changed our lives.
RT: On the CCTV footage from London, you walk in those now famous coats and sneakers in Salisbury, are those people you?
Both: Yeah that’s us
RT: What were you doing there?
Petrov: Our friends had been suggesting for a long time that we visit this wonderful town
RT: Salisbury? A wonderful town?
Borishov: There’s the famous Salisbury cathedral, famous not only in Europe, but in the whole world, its famous for its 123-metre spire, its famous for its clock. The one of the first ever created in the world that’s still working.