Number in Novichok suspect’s passport file reached Russian military, says report

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Two Russians appeared on state television on Thursday, saying they had been wrongly accused by Britain of trying to murder a former Russian spy and his daughter in England and that they had visited Salisbury in March for tourism.

In an interview aired by Russian broadcaster RT on Thursday, the men identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov said they had nothing to do with the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

British police claim the names used by the men are aliases and there is evidence they are Russian military intelligence agents.

The pair appeared on a state television channel, claiming they weren't behind a nerve agent outrage.

Britain said the attack was nearly certainly approved "at a senior level of the Russian state", an allegation that Moscow has vehemently denied.

She claimed her interview with the two suspects, named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Borishov was hard for the pair.

The men confirmed they visited Salisbury twice, on March 3 and 4.

"We examine the market, look if there is something new - some biologically active additives, amino acids, vitamins, microelements", Boshirov said.

Simonyan said during the interview that the two men called her cellphone, asking to tell their story.

An image from footage released by Scotland Yard police shows suspect Alexander Petrov
An image from footage released by Scotland Yard police shows suspect Alexander Petrov

Sources claim that the Russian Main intelligence Directorate, which, according to the United Kingdom, are Bashirov and Petrov crossed the line.

They said they were entrepreneurs but did not want to divulge details that could hurt their business which they said was linked to sports nutritional supplements.

"They had stayed less than hour in Salisbury, they said, because of bad weather", reports The Moscow Times.

The men say that their lives have been "turned upside down" by the allegations and want an apology.

"The whole situation is an incredible, fatal coincidence, and that's that", Petrov said.

In documents Ruslan Bashirov, whom Britain suspects of poisoning Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia, have the same mark stamped "Information, not to give" as the other suspect Alexander Petrov. The men said that they were simply tourists on holiday, and had been interested in seeing the spire of Salisbury Cathedral and Stonehenge.

He added that the force continues to appeal to the public for information relating to the two men while they were in the United Kingdom from March 2 to March 4. They denied that they carried a bottle of women's perfume where British authorities found traces of Novichok. "We came to you for protection, but this is turning into some sort of interrogation", he said.

A handout picture taken at Salisbury train station in Salisbury, west of London on March 3, 2018, and released by the British Metropolitan Police Service in London on September 5, 2018, shows Alexander Petrov (R) and Ruslan Boshirov.

The pair said that they had never dealt with the media before and if Putin had not urged them to speak out they would have recorded a video statement. Margarita Simonyan, RT's editor-in-chief, who conducted the interview, said on Twitter that "their answers are their responsibility" and it's up to viewers to decide whether to believe the men, who were "extremely nervous and sweating".

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