Novichok suspects Petrov and Bashirov want 'apology' from United Kingdom over allegations

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The men, named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, told the RT channel that they went sightseeing in Salisbury but returned to London within an hour. While they may have passed the former agent Sergey Skripal's home, "we don't know where it's located", Boshirov said.

"Our friends recommended a long time ago that we visit that wonderful city", the man identifying himself as Petrov told RT.

THE prime suspects in the Salisbury nerve agent attack have claimed they visited the United Kingdom as tourists.

"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 said.

In a translation from Russian, the broadcaster quoted Petrov as saying: 'Well, we came there on March 2, then went to a railway station to see the timetable.

John Glen, the Parliament member for Salisbury, offered a wry comment about the pair's visit to his town, tweeting: "Delighted to see that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were able to see the world-class attractions that Salisbury has to offer".

Detectives believe it is likely the two Salisbury suspects, thought to be aged around 40, travelled under aliases and that Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names.

British police released CCTV footage and photographs showing the two men walking in Skripal's neighbourhood on March 4, the day of the attack.

Putin's claims were rejected Wednesday by James Slack, spokesman of British Prime Minister Theresa May, who called the men GRU officers "who used a devastatingly toxic illegal chemical weapon on the streets of our country".

They claimed to have had nothing to do with the attack on Segrei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were poisoned when the pair were in Salisbury in March.

The network broadcast the interview with the suspects in the Novichok poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the United Kingdom on Thursday, even as it faces multiple ongoing investigations by media regulator Ofcom into its coverage of the attack in March.

The two accused men spoke on camera for almost 30 minutes, rarely smiling as they discussed their actions with RT's Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan. "We were drenched up to our knees", Boshirov said.

According to RT, the two men "sounded distressed" about being named by the United Kingdom as Russian intelligence agents alleged to have been involved in the poisoning. They were "civilians", Putin said, before encouraging them to come forward and speak to the media.

Ofcom said in April that since the Salisbury attack they had observed "a significant increase in the number of programs on the RT service that we consider warrant investigation as potential breaches of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code". "We'd made plans for staying in London for a while and for visiting Salisbury", said Petrov. "What do you have in common that you spend so much time together?"

"Perhaps we did pass by Skripal's house, but we don't know where it is", said Boshirov. Police say the first visit was to stake out the town and the second to poison the Skripals. But Vladimir Putin has denied that these men had anything to do with the poisoning and that they're in any way attached to the Kremlin. They said they're partners in a business importing athletic food supplements from Europe.