Two Russians accused by United Kingdom in spy poisoning to give interview

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Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who were formally accused of attempting to murder former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, are seen on CCTV at Salisbury Station, March 3, 2018.

Right on cue, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov gave an interview on state-funded channel RT on Thursday morning, during which they described their dismay at being swept up in an global scandal.

"What were you doing there?"

"Our friends had suggested for a long time that we visit this wonderful town", the men told RT, explaining their presence in Salisbury.

The two men were widely ridiculed after they claimed they had been to Salisbury to visit the city's cathedral, "famous for its 123-metre spire".

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".

The two men stressed they wanted the media and everyone else to leave them alone.

The Center for European Reform tweeted that its director of foreign policy, Ian Bond, told the BBC that the interview could have meant to "cause confusion, put smoke out there to obscure the battlefield".

The RT interview appeared to show that Russian Federation was not planning to deny the veracity of video evidence released by Scotland Yard, but to argue it had been misinterpreted. Simonyan said they refused to elaborate on their backgrounds or show their passports on camera. In June, two area residents who apparently came across a discarded vial that contained the poison fell ill, and one of them died.

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"We went there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, but we couldn't do it because there was muddy slush everywhere", one of the two men said, referring to local landmarks.

The men said they're partners in a business importing sports-nutrition supplements from Europe.

"The lies and blatant fabrications in this interview given to a Russian state-sponsored TV station are an insult to the public's intelligence", the spokesman said. So they returned the next day. Boshirov said. "The customs are checking everything, they would have questions as to why men have women's perfume in their luggage".

There is "sufficient evidence" to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov over the attack in Salisbury, British police and prosecutors say. Boshirov said that when they first arrived there, it was a snowy day and they got very wet.

Peskov said he hasn't yet had time to watch their interview and said he didn't know if Putin saw it.

Boshirov said they "maybe approached Skripal's house" while they walked around the city, "but ... didn't know where it was". Both were held in intensive care for weeks after they were exposed to the Soviet-developed deadly nerve agent. Putin called them civilians and said there is "nothing criminal" about them.

Both men looked composed during the interview, but Boshirov said, "We fear for our lives". British intelligence services say the names are likely aliases, used for a mission in which they failed to kill Skripal.

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

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.

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