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Does what the Skripal suspects said add up?

15 September 2018

They said they had fallen victim to a "fantastical coincidence".

Some pointed out that the pair had flown all the way from Russian Federation to visit the "wonderful" English town twice in two days, while ignoring the UK's better known landmarks.

The BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Moscow described the interview as carefully choreographed and freaky, pointing out that in tone and content it matched the whole Russian response to the case - flat denial mixed with mockery.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said any request from London to interview them would be considered in "strict accordance with the law" but so far the British had rejected any offer to co-operate in the investigation, the Tass news agency reported.

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.

Two men named as suspects in the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in the United Kingdom have said they were merely tourists.

Mr Glen said the interview by the two Russians was "a very poor attempt to reset the narrative".

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

"It's famous for its 123-metre spire, it's famous for its clock, one of the first ever created in the world that's still working".

The men confirmed they visited Salisbury twice, on March 3 and 4. They denied the allegation and Russian Federation refused to extradite them.

"Of course, we went there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, but we couldn't do it because there was muddy slush everywhere. We got wet, took the nearest train and came back (to London)", he said.

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"They demanded that only one camera run during the interview and refused to show their IDs", RT says of the interview carried out by Simonyan. While they acknowledged being the pair seen in images released by Scotland Yard, the men did not provide proof of their names. They may have approached Sergei Skripal's house by chance, but did not know where it was located, they said.

Boshirov and Petrov said they called her because they needed protection and would like an apology from Britain.

London renewed its assertions that the men were officers of the Russian military intelligence service GRU and lied about their involvement in the poisoning of one-time Russian agent Sergei Skripal.

Nevertheless, web users were quick to ask why snow would stop two Russians, given their country's history of sub-zero conditions.

Yet despite their apparent desire to see Salisbury's sights they spent just two hours in the city, according to British police.

It led to the death of Dawn Sturgess, 44, and the poisoning of others, including Mr Skripal's daughter Yulia, 34, and a policeman.

Questions were also raised about why the men did not actually visit Salisbury Cathedral, instead walking in the wrong direction from the train station and ending up near Sergei Skripal's home in Christie Miller Road, where he was later poisoned by Novichok on his door handle.

"This was not a rogue operation", Prime Minister Theresa May told the UK Parliament last week.

Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov spoke with the government TV station RT in their first public appearance since they were named as suspects.

Russian Federation has consistently denied ordering the attack, or having any knowledge of it.

Does what the Skripal suspects said add up?