Russians accused by United Kingdom 'victims of coincidence'

Petrov and Boshirov at Salisbury station the day before the Skripals were poisoned

Just a day after President Vladimir Putin urged them to come forward, the two Russians the United Kingdom accuses of carrying out a nerve-agent attack on a former spy denied the charges in an interview with RT state television.

Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov made their first public appearance in an interview with the Kremlin-funded RT channel Thursday afternoon, saying that they visited Salisbury to see its famous cathedral.

They also said they worked in the fitness industry, not the Russian military, and that they'd been in fear of their lives since Britain outed them as being responsible for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with Novichok in England.

"An illegal chemical weapon has been used in the streets of this country. We're waiting with interest to see what they come out with".

British police named the two men as suspects in the Novichok poison attacks of Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia Skripal, as well as two bystanders this past March.

The men denied they work for Russian military intelligence and described themselves as businessmen.

The two men were widely ridiculed after they claimed they had been to Salisbury to visit the city's cathedral, "famous for its 123-metre spire".

British prosecutors last week confirmed the identity of two Russians and said that they were operating under aliases- Alexander Petrov and Rulsan Boshirov. "What is our fault?"

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According to RT's website, the men were asked about the perfume bottle that contained the Novichok, discovered by Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley. Friends had been exhorting them for some time to make the trip, they said.

They travelled to Salisbury the following morning but claimed that the snow and adverse weather conditions were so dramatic that they were "wet to the knees" and forced to abort their tour. The number, called by the Observer on Saturday, links to a reception desk at the Russian defence ministry, where a clerk said he would not speak with journalists or provide any information. He laughed off as "silly" the idea that they would have carried a women's perfume bottle.

They said, however, that they were surprised at the pair's failure to come up with a credible alternative story to counter a British police dossier that pointed to their involvement and to muddy the waters, a known Russian military deception tactic known as maskirovka.

British counterterrorism policing sources were understood to "stand by everything" they had said in naming two individuals from Russian Federation as being responsible for the March attack. Sadly, it is what we have come to expect. They then went straight to the airport and flew home, hours after the Skripals were found unconscious on a bench.

He added that he had not watched the interview himself and that he did not know whether President Vladimir Putin had but that it was "hardly likely" he had seen it in full.

Britain on Wednesday accused Russian Federation of "obfuscation and lies".

The pair were caught on camera at Salisbury rail station on March 4, and minutes later another camera spotted them walking in the direction of Skripal's house - the opposite direction from the cathedral.

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