Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Russia: UK's novichok interview allegations 'absurd'

CCTV footage of the two Russian suspects taken near the Skripal's home in Salisbury CCTV footage of the two Russian suspects taken near the Skripal's home in Salisbury
Jeannette Daniel | 15 September, 2018, 18:46

Mr Skripal - a former Russian military intelligence colonel who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain's MI6 foreign intelligence service - and his daughter were found slumped unconscious on a bench in Salisbury in March. The Russian President insisted they were innocent and "civilians", contradicting accusations by Scotland Yard that they were agents of Russian military intelligence, the GRU, which Mr Skripal used to be a member of.

'We have repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury in March.

RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said the pair had called her mobile because they wanted to tell their story.

Petrov and Boshirov told RT they were visiting the "wonderful town" of Salisbury, England, to see its famous cathedral.

A British government minister, who represents Salisbury, said on Twitter that the statements were not credible.

"When your life is turned upside down in a moment?" "But very unusual to come all this way for just two days while carrying Novichok in their luggage", Tweeted John Glen, the Member of Parliament for Salisbury.

On the first attempt - the British say this was a reconnaissance mission - the two men stayed only an hour and didn't manage to walk the few hundred yards from the train station to the cathedral because of the bad snow and slush.

The two added that they had planned to visit London on their trip, but a snowstorm hindered their plans.

The interview was evidence of "the professional degradation" of the intelligence service "multiplied by the exhaustion of propaganda resources", he said. We arrived in Salisbury on March 3 and tried to walk through the town, but we lasted for only half an hour because it was covered in snow.

The weather was better the next day, when the two were caught on camera at the Salisbury rail station at 11:48 a.m. "It is London's official stance and we regret to say that it is impossible to make any assumptions, unfortunately", he said.

More news: Sydney-bought strawberries contaminated with needles, NSW police confirm

"Well, we came there [to the UK] on 2 March, then went to a railway station to see the timetable". Police released CCTV footage purporting to show them leaving at 1.50pm. At the airport, we always go down one corridor. "One goes, the other waits", Boshirov said. "So how did this happen?"

We want to hear from you.

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. But no, they knew nothing of the Skripals or their house.

"Is it silly for decent lads to have women's perfume?", RT quoted Boshirov as saying in remarks translated into English.

In the men's first interview since they were named publicly they denied carrying women's perfume. "We didn't have it".

Simonyan said the two men contacted her directly and that she had not looked for them personally.

United Kingdom prosecutors have said they have "sufficient evidence" to charge the pair but did not formally demand their extradition, as Russian Federation does not extradite its citizens.

On Thursday, both men denied that they were GRU agents.

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.

Rules in intelligence assessments were tightened up after the 2003 Iraq weapons of mass destruction debacle.

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