Britain said it was clear the two men, who appeared on Russia’s state-funded RT television, were agents of Russia’s GRU military intelligence who carried out the attack, and their interview an example of Russia’s “obfuscation and lies”.
The two men, who appeared deeply uncomfortable, identified themselves as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, the names British prosecutors said were used by the poisoners. They said they had fallen victim to a “fantastical coincidence”.
Britain has charged the two men with attempting to murder former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia by spraying a chemical weapon on Skripal’s door in March.
The Skripals and a police officer fell seriously ill. A woman in a nearby town later died after her partner brought home a discarded counterfeit Nina Ricci perfume bottle containing the poison.
The two men, both wearing blue jumpers, said they were civilians in the sports nutrition business.
“Our friends had been suggesting for a long time that we visit this wonderful town,” Petrov said of Salisbury.
“There’s the famous Salisbury cathedral. It’s famous not only in Europe, but in the whole world. 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,” added Boshirov.
Asked about the interview, a British government spokeswoman said: “The government is clear these men are officers of the Russian military intelligence service — the GRU — who used a devastatingly toxic, illegal chemical weapon on the streets of our country.”
“We have repeatedly