Novichok attack: Actors play their part in Putin's masquerade

Novichok attack: Actors play their part in Putin's masquerade

Novichok attack: Actors play their part in Putin's masquerade

Britain on Thursday, September 13, dismissed as an "insult" an interview shown on Russian television with two men who appeared to be the suspects accused by London of poisoning a former Russian spy with a Soviet-era nerve agent.

"What were you doing there?"

The two said that they had gone to the British city of Salisbury to see its famous religious center, Salisbury Cathedral.

They also said they traveled to "wonderful" Salisbury as tourists.

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".

Commentators have expressed incredulity after Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov told the Kremin-funded TV channel Russia Today (RT) that they were in Salisbury on 3 March as tourists to visit the cathedral and nearby Stonehenge.

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

Britain said the attack was nearly certainly approved "at a senior level of the Russian state", an allegation that Moscow has vehemently denied. Simonyan said they refused to elaborate on their backgrounds or show their passports on camera.

That is the story that Russian Federation wanted us to believe; the story of two individuals who supposedly were just wayward tourists in Britain and were just caught up in one of the most freakish and strangest spying stories of the decade.

The two men were charged in absentia last week in the UK.

He went on: "Well, we went there on March 2, then went to a railway station to see the timetable".

The men denied having any poison or the counterfeit Nina Ricci perfume bottle that United Kingdom police say was used to transport the weapons-grade nerve agent.

They returned the following day when it was warmer to see the cathedral. Traces of the agent Novichok have also been found in the room the two men stayed in in London, according to the investigators.

The interview with Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, named as suspects in the Salisbury poisoning, appeared on RT on Thursday.

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.

They said they may have passed by Skripal's house but they did not know him.

Ben Nimmo, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab, called the interview "a piece of political theater".

The men are civilians and "we know who they are", Putin told an economic forum in Vladivostok on Wednesday in his first comments on the United Kingdom allegations.

"RT is already under intense scrutiny and this is certainly not going to help matters", said John Enser, a partner in media law at CMS in London.

Police said that they believed the names were aliases - but the two men insisted they were their real names and denied they were intelligence operatives.

Both Skripal and his daughter recovered from the attack, but a woman who came into contact with a discarded perfume bottle that contained the nerve agent died. He laughed off as "silly" the idea that they would have carried a women's perfume bottle. We came to you for protection.

She said the new sanctions will include banking sanctions, a broader ban on Russian procurement of defense articles, and a block on any foreign aid.

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