Suspects Accused of Skripal Attack Insist They Were Just Visiting Stonehenge
The U.K. says they’re Russian intelligence agents who tried to murder a former spy. They insist they’re just absurdly unlucky tourists.
They’re not the first people to say their holiday to Britain was ruined by rubbish weather, but they might now be the most notorious.
Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov—the two Russians the U.K. has accused of attempting to murder former spy Sergei Skripal—have offered an absurdly inadequate alibi to RT, saying they visited England as tourists to see Stonehenge and the local Salisbury Cathedral, but cut the break short after getting wet.
“Well, we came there on March 2, then went to a railway station to see the timetable. 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,” Petrov told the Kremlin propaganda outlet with a straight face.
“Of course, we went there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, but we couldn’t do it because there was muddy slush everywhere. The town was covered by this slush. We got wet, took the nearest train and came back [to London].”
In an even more absurd section of the interview, one of the men lists facts about the cathedral in Salisbury—the town where the attempted murder took place—and said they’d been dying to see it for a long time.
“There’s the famous Salisbury Cathedral, famous not only in Europe but in the whole world. It’s famous for its 123-meter spire. It’s famous for its clock—one of the first ever created in the world that’s still working.”
Somewhat suspiciously, those same two facts are contained in the second paragraph of Salisbury Cathedral’s Wikipedia page.
Britain has provided an extensive catalogue of evidence supporting their accusation that Petrov and Boshirov attempted to murder Skripal in March. The nerve-agent attack in March left Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, critically ill. The substance later poisoned local residents Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess. Sturgess later died of her illness.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said she believed the two suspects are officers from Russia’s military intelligence service. The naming of the suspects was supported by CCTV images and photographs of the modified perfume bottle believed to have been used to apply the Novichok nerve agent, which is said to have been applied to Skripal’s front door.
When asked if they had any poison with them on the trip, they “emphatically” denied it, according to RT, with Boshirov saying: “Is it silly for decent lads to have women’s perfume? The customs are checking everything, they would have questions as to why men have women’s perfume in their luggage. We didn’t have it.”
The suspects’ interview with RT came just one day after Vladimir Putin leapt to their defense. The Russian president said Wednesday: “I hope they will turn up themselves and tell everything. This would be best for everyone. There is nothing special there, nothing criminal, I assure you. We’ll see in the near future.”
To absolutely no one’s surprise, that is exactly what has happened.
Elsewhere in the interview, two men complained about how their lives have been affected since Britain named them as the suspects. “When your life turned upside down, you don’t know what to do and where to go. We’re afraid of going out, we fear for ourselves, our lives and lives of our loved ones,” said Boshirov, sounding “distressed,” according to the report.
The two also revealed they spent the new year together in Switzerland, and have previously visited Europe as part of their sports-nutrition business. They claim they are civilians, not members of the GRU—the Russian military intelligence service—as Britain has said.
Putin also described the two as “civilians” on Wednesday—but the British government said it stood by its accusation that the two men were officers in the GRU.