Brown gives warning
THE world is in danger of sleepwalking into a repeat of the financial crisis of 2008, Gordon Brown has said. The former prime minister, left, insisted dangers had increased because the world is now “leaderless”. BRITAIN has accused Russia of “lies and blatant fabrications” in the television interview with the two suspects in the Salisbury poisoning.
Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov told Russian state-funded news channel RT they travelled to the “wonderful” city in Wiltshire after recommendations from friends.
The pair claimed they have been left fearing for their lives after Britain pointed to their involvement and said they were officers in Russian military intelligence service the GRU.
Downing Street called the content of the interview “deeply offensive to the victims and loved ones of this horrific attack”.
In a translation from Russian, the pair told RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan they worked in the fitness industry.
The broadcaster quoted Petrov as saying they arrived in London on March 2 and attempted to visit Salisbury on March 3 but were thwarted by snow.
They returned the following day when it was warmer to see the cathedral.
He said: “Of course, we went there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, but we couldn’t Alexander Petrov 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 the men’s first interview since they were named publicly they denied carrying women’s perfume, after police discovered a counterfeit bottle that contained a “significant amount” of Novichok.
Boshirov acknowledged they may have been near Mr Skripal’s house but they did not know where it was.
They also asked for an apology from the UK, adding: “We just want this to be over.”
UK authorities believe the pair smeared the highly toxic chemical Novichok on a door handle at the Wiltshire home of former GRU officer Sergei Skripal, leaving Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia critically ill.
Tests on the east London hotel room where the suspects had stayed showed contamination of Novichok.
A Government spokesman said: “The Government is clear these men are officers of the Russian military intelligence service – the GRU – who used a devastatingly toxic, illegal chemical weapon on the streets of our country.
“We have repeatedly asked Russia to account for what happened in Salisbury in March. Today they have responded with obfuscation and lies.”
John Glen, the Conservative MP for Salisbury and South Wiltshire, also dismissed the statements as “not credible” – but he also joked he was delighted they could see the city’s “world-class attractions” despite “carrying Novichok in their luggage”.
President Vladimir Putin said the men had been discounted as members of his security network.
Boshirov said his life had been turned “upside down”, according to RT. He said: “We’re afraid of going out, we fear for ourselves, our lives and lives of our loved ones.”