Skripal suspects in the United Kingdom as 'tourists'

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"We hope they will turn up very soon and will tell everything themselves".

Police believe Dawn Sturgess, 44, and her partner, 45-year-old Charlie Rowley, had accidentally found the Novichok-laced perfume bottle, exposing them to the toxic nerve agent. Relations between the United Kingdom and Russian Federation, already frosty, plunged into crisis after the attack.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who were formally accused of attempting to murder former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, are seen in this image handed out by the Metropolitan Police in London.

The men, identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, told RT that they made the trek from Moscow for a three day visit to the British town of Salisbury last March for the goal of sightseeing - and not, as the United Kingdom government alleges, to poison Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

They spent weeks in hospital before being discharged. A woman later died after coming in contact with the nerve agent.

Yulia Skripal flew in to the United Kingdom from Russia on Saturday, 3 March to visit her father, Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent who was living in Salisbury.

"Perhaps we did pass by Skripal's house, but we don't know where it is", said Boshirov. "We're afraid of going out, we fear for ourselves, our lives and the lives of our loved ones", Mr Boshirov said.

Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of Russia's state-funded RT, wrote on social media that she had met and interviewed two men called Petrov and Boshirov on Wednesday evening. RT said they refused to show their passports or give details on exactly what they do or where they work.

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They also confirmed that they had travelled to Europe before.

The accusation that they are part of the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, was "the scariest thing" about the incident, Petrov said, according to the translation by RT. "This story is very destructive for the country's reputation".

"From Heathrow Airport, they returned to Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2585, departing at 10.30pm on Sunday, 4 March".

John Glen, the Parliament member for Salisbury, offered a wry comment about the pair's visit to his town, tweeting: "Delighted to see that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were able to see the world-class attractions that Salisbury has to offer. Sadly, it's what we've come to expect", Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said. "This was not a rogue operation", she said.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are our real names.

A United Kingdom government spokesperson said the United Kingdom is "clear" that Petrov and Boshirov are agents with Russian military intelligence and slammed the interview as "lies and blatant fabrications".

They had been for lunch at a restaurant in central Salisbury on 4 March when they were found "in an extremely serious condition" on a bench outside the restaurant. We don't know who actually poisoned the Skripals. "There's nothing unusual or criminal there, I assure you. We didn't have it", Boshirov said.

London believes that Putin personally sanctioned the attack. United Kingdom authorities blamed two former Russian agents, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, for the murder. They got a flight back to Russian Federation later that evening. In 2017, the USA imposed sanctions on him for his role in the case.