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Russians Wanted for Nerve Agent Attack in U.K. Say They Were Tourists, Not Hit Men

Published: September 13, 2018
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Source: The Intercept

JUST AS VLADIMIR PUTIN predicted they would, two Russian men wanted in Britain for poisoning a former Russian spy with a military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union appeared on Russian television on Thursday to profess their innocence.

The men, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, told the Kremlin-financed network Russia Today that they had traveled from Moscow to the English provincial city of Salisbury in March to visit its ancient cathedral, not to assassinate Sergei Skripal, a former double agent who sold secrets to Britain.

“Our friends had been suggesting for a long time that we visit this wonderful town,” Petrov said in an interview with Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of Russia Today, the state news network known as RT.

When Simonyan seemed to express some surprise at this characterization of an English city that is not well-known abroad, Boshirov answered simply “Yes.”

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As we detailed earlier, in what appears to be the latest escalation in the UK government's campaign to blame Russia for the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia Skripal and three other seemingly random Britons (one of whom succumbed to the deadly Novichok nerve agent used in the attacks), British prosecutors are saying they have "sufficient evidence" to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, both Russian nationals, with conspiracy to murder Skripal, as well as the attempted murder of his daughter and police detective Nick Bailey, according to Reuters.

In what appears to be the latest escalation in the UK government's campaign to blame Russia for the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia Skripal and three other seemingly random Britons (one of whom succumbed to the deadly Novichok nerve agent used in the attacks), British prosecutors are saying they have "sufficient evidence" to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, both Russian nationals, with conspiracy to murder Skripal, as well as the attempted murder of his daughter and police detective Nick Bailey, according to Reuters.

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