That was fast. A day after Vladimir Putin hinted at an interview, two Russians claiming to be those accused of depositing a nerve agent on the door of a former Russian spy living in England announced they were only on a sightseeing trip. Describing themselves as victims of a "fantastical coincidence," Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov sat down with state-funded Russia Today to explain two short visits to Salisbury on March 3 and 4, per Sky News. On a recommendation from friends that the owners of a sports nutrition business visit "wonderful" Salisbury and its cathedral, the pair said they tried to walk around but encountered too much snow for exploring, reports the Guardian. "We went there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, but … there was muddy slush everywhere," said Petrov.
They say they returned the next day because the weather had improved. Adding their one-hour stay was due to "lags between trains," Boshirov said the pair "maybe approached" Sergei Skripal's home "but we didn't know where it was located," per the BBC. Closely resembling photographs of the suspects issued by UK police, the men also denied carrying Novichok in a women's perfume bottle. Customs officials "would have questions as to why men have women's perfume in their luggage. We didn't have it," Boshirov said. British authorities allege the men are agents of Russia's military intelligence agency who staked out Salisbury before returning the next day to carry out the deliberate attack. Both have been charged with attempted murder in absentia.