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Does what the Skripal suspects said add up?

16 Septembre 2018

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov told Russian state-funded news channel RT they travelled to the "wonderful" city in Wiltshire after recommendations from friends.

"We have repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury in March and they have replied with obfuscation and lies", Slack said.

"They are believed to have taken a similar route when they returned to London on the afternoon of Saturday, 3 March".

But when they were asked about the bottle of perfume that British man Charlie Rowley claims he found and gave to his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess, who later died of Novichok poisoning, one of them replied by asking, "Don't you think it's silly for straight men to have women's perfume with them?"

He and his daughter Yulia collapsed on a bench in the English city of Salisbury on March, after coming into contact with the poison smeared on the handle of Skripal's front door, police said.

- The second oldest in the United Kingdom.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May rejected Putin's statement.

They've been accused of acting as Russian intelligence agents and attacking a former double agent in Salisbury, but the two men say that they're just regular businessmen who work in sports nutrition. They recovered after treatment in the hospital.

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

"When your life [is] turned upside down, you don't know what to do and where to go. One goes, the other waits", Boshirov said. The interview will air later on Thursday, she wrote.

It was Putin himself who declared that the state had identified the two men ("ordinary civilians") and who called for them to be interviewed. Putin, speaking at an economic forum in Russia's Far East, described Petrov and Boshirov as regular citizens and definitely not "criminals".

"The only thing I can agree with them on is that Salisbury is a fantastic place, and I will be doing all I can with business leaders to promote tourism next year and beyond".

Failure to show the men on TV "would have raised suspicions these people were no longer among the living", said Valery Solovei, a political scientist at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations.

CCTV footage released by police shows the pair arriving in the city around 2.25pm and leaving an hour and 45 minutes later.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov told RT's editor-in-chief they had nothing to do with the Skripals' poisoning. "This was not a rogue operation", she said.

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.

Craig Murray, a former official who has faced criticism for pushing debunked conspiracy theories related to the poisoning, claimed on Twitter after the interview that the "most likely interpretation is that they are a gay couple..."

"The possibility of them doing the same thing here can not be discounted - especially in light of them interfering in the 2016 election and Skripal", Frank Montoya Jr., a former top F.B.I. counterintelligence official, told The Times. Here we look at four key claims made about their time in southern England.

Does what the Skripal suspects said add up?