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Ten GLARING flaws that cast huge doubts over poisoning suspects' claims on Russia TV

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Novichok in their hotel room, no photos of them at the cathedral... and where's all that snow? Ten GLARING flaws that blow a huge hole in Russian hitmen's bizarre account of their trip to Salisbury

  • The suspected assassins were ridiculed after claiming to have been tourists
  • They claimed they wanted to see Salisbury Cathedral's '123-metre spire'
  • Their unlikely story was branded 'lies and blatant fabrication' by Theresa May
  • The men broke cover eight days after mugshots were issued by Scotland Yard
  • They told Kremlin-funded state broadcaster Russia Today they were on holiday

By Sam Greenhill Chief Reporter For The Daily Mail and Martin Robinson, Uk Chief Reporter For Mailonline

Published: 19:09 EDT, 13 September 2018 | Updated: 04:55 EDT, 14 September 2018

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The two Kremlin-sponsored novichok assassins ridiculed after claiming to have been ordinary tourists have at least ten gaping holes in their 'absurd' story, it was revealed today.

The men, claiming to be Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, claimed to be desperate to see the Salisbury Cathedral's magnificent '123-metre spire' and visited the city twice in three days.

But bizarrely they stayed 127 miles away in an east London hotel even though they insisted they were in Britain to visit its 'famous cathedral' and took no pictures.

They also claimed attempts to get to nearby Stonehenge were thwarted, even though a bus was running to the world's most famous prehistoric monument from outside the station.

And the men claimed snow 'up to their knees' cut short their Salisbury trip - even though the weather was sunny and pavements were clear - while they also admitted they may have ended up outside Sergei Skripal's house by accident.

The pair also failed to explain why they had booked two alternative return flights from London to Moscow – giving them the option of fleeing on Sunday or Monday - a and CCTV suggested that they did not have any luggage with them on their way home to Russia. 

Their unlikely story was branded 'lies and blatant fabrication' by Theresa May last night, who said it 'insulted the public's intelligence' and was deeply offensive to the victims of the chemical attack.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt added: 'The last time Russian military claimed to be on holiday was when they invaded Ukraine in 2014.'

The two Skripal suspects Ruslan Boshirov (pictured left) and Alexander Petrov (pictured right) have spoken out in an interview on RT
The two Skripal suspects Ruslan Boshirov (pictured left) and Alexander Petrov (pictured right) have spoken out in an interview on RT

The two Skripal suspects Ruslan Boshirov (pictured left) and Alexander Petrov (pictured right) have spoken out in an interview on RT

Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov on Fisherton Road, Salisbury at 1:05pm on March 4 2018
Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov on Fisherton Road, Salisbury at 1:05pm on March 4 2018

Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov on Fisherton Road, Salisbury at 1:05pm on March 4 2018

Interviewer Margarita Simonyan of Russia Today conducted the interview with the two men which raised a number of questions
Interviewer Margarita Simonyan of Russia Today conducted the interview with the two men which raised a number of questions

Interviewer Margarita Simonyan of Russia Today conducted the interview with the two men which raised a number of questions

The men broke cover eight days after their mugshots were issued by Scotland Yard – which has accused them of attempted murder – and Mrs May told the Commons they were intelligence agents from Russia's feared GRU.

The men told Kremlin-funded state broadcaster Russia Today yesterday they had been on a two-day holiday to Salisbury.

But these ten glaring flaws blow a huge hole in their version of events.

1. What about the Novichok found in hotel room?

The assassins made no attempts to answer why novichok traces were found in a room inside their east London hotel (pictured)
The assassins made no attempts to answer why novichok traces were found in a room inside their east London hotel (pictured)

The assassins made no attempts to answer why novichok traces were found in a room inside their east London hotel (pictured)

The most glaring problem with their story is the fact that traces of novichok were found in their hotel room in East London. They were not asked, and did not explain, how this could possibly be the case.

2. Why stay in East London anyway?

The men chose a hotel 127 miles from Salisbury despite heading to the city twice in three days
The men chose a hotel 127 miles from Salisbury despite heading to the city twice in three days

The men chose a hotel 127 miles from Salisbury despite heading to the city twice in three days

The pair say they flew from Moscow to visit Salisbury insisting: 'Our friends have been suggesting for quite a long time that we visit this wonderful city.' But if they had truly wanted to experience the Wiltshire gem, why not stay in one of more than 60 hotels and guesthouses in the city? Instead, they wasted hours going back and forth on trains.

3. Their complaints about the snowy weather

The Russians, who are used to cold and snow, talked about being hot with bad weather despite enjoying sunshine and clear pavements
The Russians, who are used to cold and snow, talked about being hot with bad weather despite enjoying sunshine and clear pavements

The Russians, who are used to cold and snow, talked about being hot with bad weather despite enjoying sunshine and clear pavements

Ruslan Boshirov claimed: 'It was impossible to get anywhere because of the snow. We were drenched up to our knees.' And his accomplice complained that on their Sunday visit, 'there was heavy rain with snow'. Salisbury had indeed been transformed into a stunning winter wonderland with a blanket of snow in the days before they arrived. But the temperatures were already easing on Saturday March 3, the first day they visited. By Sunday it was a relatively balmy 9C and occasionally sunny. There were no reports of 'heavy rain'. CCTV images of the pair on Sunday showed it was damp but there was not a snowflake in sight. And a photo taken of Salisbury Cathedral on March 3 shows the snow had already melted from its roof.

4. Wrong direction for visiting cathedral

CCTV shows how the two Russians set off in completely the opposite direction if they wanted to visit the cathedral
CCTV shows how the two Russians set off in completely the opposite direction if they wanted to visit the cathedral

CCTV shows how the two Russians set off in completely the opposite direction if they wanted to visit the cathedral

Boshirov and Petrov insist they wanted to witness the magnificent spire of Salisbury Cathedral. This can be seen from the railway station – yet CCTV shows how the two Russians set off in completely the opposite direction. Instead of heading south-east from the station to the cathedral, they walked north-west and were captured on CCTV walking past a Shell garage on the way to the Skripal family home.

5. No pictures of them visiting cathedral

The men made Salisbury Cathedral the focus of their trip but took no photos and didn't get captured by CCTV outside
The men made Salisbury Cathedral the focus of their trip but took no photos and didn't get captured by CCTV outside

The men made Salisbury Cathedral the focus of their trip but took no photos and didn't get captured by CCTV outside

The unlikely sightseers were spotted in many places in Salisbury – yet not at the cathedral, despite it being the city's main attraction. They claim to have been there on the Sunday, saying: 'The cathedral is very beautiful.

They have lots of tourists, lots of Russian tourists.' If CCTV exists of them visiting the 800-year-old treasure, it has not been made public. The two men do claim to have their own snaps of their visit however, but have failed to release them. The pair also claim they also 'went to a park, we had some coffee. We went to a coffee shop and drank coffee'. So far, no CCTV has been released to back this up.

The claim by two suspects in the Skripal case that they visited Salisbury to see its cathedral 'doesn't seem to add up', the Wiltshire city's bishop has said.

Bishop of Salisbury Nicholas Holtam said he was not aware of any evidence linking Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov to the cathedral, and suggested that the Russian men might have benefited from a visit to the building and a viewing of its copy of Magna Carta.

Responding to the men's claims, the bishop told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'It doesn't really add up, does it?'

Asked whether there was CCTV footage of them at the cathedral, he said: 'There's nothing to link (them with) the cathedral that we have got, or I think anybody has got. There's no way of proving that.'

The bishop said that his response to the men's TV interview was to think 'What a pity that they didn't spend longer in that city, where they could have explored the cathedral and seen a building that is committed to the love of God, where there is regular worship to lift our hearts, the tallest spire and a copy of Magna Carta about the rule of law and of justice. They didn't seem to see any of that, did they?' 

6. Bus tours to Stonehenge were NOT cancelled

Snow stopped them getting to the world famous prehistoric monument - but the bus was running that day
Snow stopped them getting to the world famous prehistoric monument - but the bus was running that day

Snow stopped them getting to the world famous prehistoric monument - but the bus was running that day

Petrov said the pair had also wanted to see nearby Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, 'but it didn't work out because of the slush'. Visitors to the prehistoric monument, nine miles north of Salisbury, can catch a bus directly from the station forecourt.

Asked if snow or anything else had affected services, a spokesman for bus operator Salisbury Reds told the Mail yesterday: 'The tour buses ran as normal on Sunday 4 March.'

7. Airport entry photo

Boshirov saod this image was faked - but British police have debunked that myth 
Boshirov saod this image was faked - but British police have debunked that myth 

Boshirov saod this image was faked - but British police have debunked that myth 

Boshirov suggests CCTV photos of them walking through Gatwick arrivals must have been faked, because they appear to show the two men walking through the same customs channel with precisely the same timestamp. But British police have already explained that there are two parallel channels.

8. 'Fake photos' proved real

As they walk around Salisbury on the day of the attack, they are seen on CCTV in Fisherton Road shortly after 1pm - Russian sources tried to claim it was not them but the suspects yesterday confirmed it was
As they walk around Salisbury on the day of the attack, they are seen on CCTV in Fisherton Road shortly after 1pm - Russian sources tried to claim it was not them but the suspects yesterday confirmed it was

As they walk around Salisbury on the day of the attack, they are seen on CCTV in Fisherton Road shortly after 1pm - Russian sources tried to claim it was not them but the suspects yesterday confirmed it was

The pair's confessions they were indeed the men in the photos wrecks one of Russia's favourite conspiracy theories – that the British authorities faked the images.

9. Bad timing

Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia (pictured together in Salisbury) were poisoned with Novichok after it was smeared on his front door when the agents were in the city
Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia (pictured together in Salisbury) were poisoned with Novichok after it was smeared on his front door when the agents were in the city

Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia (pictured together in Salisbury) were poisoned with Novichok after it was smeared on his front door when the agents were in the city

A major flaw in their account was the very fact that the Skripals were indeed poisoned on the day they visited Salisbury.

10. Two return flights and the missing luggage

Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov at Heathrow airport security before their flight home - but they had also tickets for the following morning
Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov at Heathrow airport security before their flight home - but they had also tickets for the following morning

Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov at Heathrow airport security before their flight home - but they had also tickets for the following morning

The pair also failed to explain why they had booked two alternative return flights from London to Moscow – giving them the option of fleeing on Sunday or Monday. The men went straight from Salisbury to Heathrow for the evening flight. But CCTV suggested that they did not have any luggage with them on their way home.  

Fact vs fiction: How the novichok spies' claims fall down each time

Claim

'We came to Salisbury on the 3rd [of March], we tried to walk around the city, but since the city was covered in snow, we were able to only for a half an hour, we got wet. On March 4, we went back there, because the snow melted in London, it was warm. But again, by lunchtime, there was heavy rain with snow'.

Truth 

The Russians hail from a country that deals with snow for most of the year - with one from Siberia, one of the coldest places on the planet. The Met believe that on March 3 they found Skripal's home knowing they would return the next day to attack him. There is no way they could cover that distance in the 30minutes they claimed to be in Salisbury for.

Claim

On the day the Skripals were poisoned - March 4 - the men said they went to see the cathedral. Boshirov said: 'The cathedral is very beautiful. They have lots of tourists, lots of Russian tourists, lots of Russian-speaking tourists' 

Truth 

CCTV shows them a mile away from the cathedral near Sergei Skripal's home. After arriving in the city at 11.48am they were at their target's house within ten minutes. An hour later they appeared in the city centre and caught a train 45 minutes after that, giving them no chance of any sightseeing. The Bishop of Salisbury confirmed today they appear to have no footage of the men at the cathedral.  

Claim

'Of course, we went to visit Stonehenge, Old Sarum, the cathedral of the Virgin Mary, but it didn't work out because there was muddy slush everywhere, as we'd say in Russian, total slush. We got wet, returned to the train station and went back on the next train.'

Truth 

Photos, TripAdvisor reviews and social media posts prove others were able to visit these historic sites without being hampered by the weather.  

Claim

The men admitted they may have stumbled on Skripal's home by accident. Boshirov said: 'Maybe we passed by it, maybe we didn't pass by it, I don't know, I hadn't heard. I hadn't heard this surname, I didn't know anything about them before this situation, this nightmare with us, started.'

Truth

The house was in completely the wrong direction away from the cathedral and Sergei Skripal's defection to Britain was one of the biggest spy stories in Russia of the past 20 years. 

Claim 

The poison came to Britain in a high-tech perfume bottle designed not to spill, especially when sprayed. The men said: 'Isn't it silly for a normal man to carry women's perfume? Even just passing through customs. When you pass through customs they check all your things, or just any police officer can look through them, I think if we would have had something, they would have had questions. Why does a man in his luggage have women's perfume?'

Truth

A small bottle of perfume in hand luggage is not remotely strange, especially as many men buy it as a gift in tax free.   

Burly pair's anger at gay speculation

Being branded assassins was bad enough – but what really upset Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov was the suggestion they might wear women's perfume.

The muscular men feigned horror when asked if they smuggled deadly novichok in a bottle of Nina Ricci fragrance.

Boshirov said crossly it would be 'stupid for two straight men to carry perfume for ladies', with his accomplice grumbling: 'Why would a man need perfume for women?'

Their terse objections prompted Russian media to suggest the two 'fashionable' men were on a romantic minibreak together.

One news website even started a bizarre poll asking readers whether the muscular pair were 'agents made to be gays or gays made to be agents'.

After the perfume exchange, the RT interviewer probed: 'Speaking of straight men, all the footage features you two together. You spent time together, you lived together, you went for a walk together. What do you have in common that you spend so much time together?'

Boshirov complained: 'You know, let's not breach anyone's privacy. We came to you for protection, but this is turning into some kind of interrogation.'

When online speculation began over their sexuality, 38-year-old interviewer Margarita Simonyan – head of the Kremlin 'propaganda' channel – retorted: 'I do not know if they are gay or not. They are quite fashionable – with little beards, good haircuts, tight trousers, sweaters tight over big biceps.'

She said that the men had not 'hit on her'.

The two Kremlin assassins were  widely ridiculed yesterday after claiming to have been ordinary tourists desperate to see the Salisbury Cathedral's magnificent '123-metre spire'.

The burly pair admitted they were in the city on the day Sergei Skripal was poisoned, but insisted they only went to visit its 'famous cathedral' and nearby Stonehenge.

Their unlikely story was branded 'lies and blatant fabrication' by Theresa May last night, who said it 'insulted the public's intelligence' and was deeply offensive to the victims of the chemical attack. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt added: 'The last time Russian military claimed to be on holiday was when they invaded Ukraine in 2014.'

The men broke cover eight days after their mugshots were issued by Scotland Yard – which has accused them of attempted murder – and Mrs May told the Commons they were intelligence agents from Russia's feared GRU.

The men told Kremlin-funded state broadcaster Russia Today yesterday they had been on a two-day holiday to Salisbury.

In the stage-managed interview, they admitted 'maybe' they ended up at former double agent Mr Skripal's suburban home by accident while looking for the cathedral, which has a 400ft spire and is a 25-minute walk in the opposite direction.

They insisted their real names were Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. The Yard says these are the aliases the GRU hitmen used to travel to Britain on March 2 for their assassination mission.

They were interviewed on camera for 25 minutes by RT's editor-in-chief, who says she offered them cognac to quell their nerves.

The men claimed their lives had been 'turned upside down' since being named as suspects.

But the interview shed no light on their backgrounds and they were not asked to explain why traces of novichok were found in their east London hotel room –127 miles from the Skripals' home.

Instead, to global mockery, they told how they flew to Britain because friends had urged them to visit 'wonderful' Salisbury.

In praising their destination, Boshirov sounded like he was reciting a Wikipedia page, stating: 'It's famous for its 123-metre spire. It's famous for its clock. It's the oldest working clock in the world.'

A body-language expert said the men appeared to be reciting 'guide book monologues' about Salisbury.

Even prominent Russians were openly ridiculing the pair's insistence they were not trained killers.

In London, the Prime Minister was scathing of Moscow's 'contempt' for the novichok episode, which nearly killed Mr Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, and claimed the life of Dawn Sturgess, 44, whose partner Charlie Rowley, 45, had unwittingly given her the fake bottle of perfume used to carry the nerve agent.

Anti-terror police are understood to 'stand by everything' they have said about the two suspects. Intelligence officers know the men's real names, and sources said they concluded they were GRU hitmen based on solid intelligence which has not been made public.

Vranyo: Russian word meaning to lie without expecting to be believed 

The Russians have a word, vranyo, which means to tell a lie without expecting to be believed.

The lie is told purely to save face. The teller knows they will not be believed but knows they won't challenged.

It was common practice in the Soviet era. 

Mrs May said: 'The lies and blatant fabrications in this interview … are an insult to the public's intelligence. More importantly, they are deeply offensive to the victims and loved ones of this horrific attack. Sadly, it is what we have come to expect. An illegal chemical weapon has been used on the streets of this country. We have seen four people left seriously ill in hospital and an innocent woman has died. Russia has responded with contempt.'

As relations with Moscow worsened, the Russian embassy claimed its diplomats had been 'banned' from attending a Conservative Party event for the first time.

Ministers say Vladimir Putin personally ordered the assassination attempt, but the Russian President has denied all involvement.

In their interview, Petrov and Boshirov told RT they fear the British secret service has a 'bounty on our heads'.

Boshirov denied the Kremlin had forced them to speak out, and said: 'We're afraid of going out, we fear for ourselves, our lives and lives of our loved ones.' They described themselves as 'decent lads' working in the 'sports nutrition business'.

They said they went to Salisbury twice in two days to try to get to Stonehenge but were thwarted each time by snow. They said they got 'drenched' and 'freezing' and on both days stayed for a short period, before heading back to London on the train.

Boshirov confessed: 'Maybe we did [approach] Skripal's house, but we don't know where it was located.'

Police say the hitmen went on Saturday March 3 as a dry run before the murder attempt on the Sunday and travelling back to Heathrow and a flight to Moscow that evening.

In Moscow, Sergey Dorenko, of Govorit Moskva radio, said he was ashamed at the 'clumsy' interview.

Journalist Oleg Kashin said it had the opposite effect to what Mr Putin had hoped for – and amounted to a 'confession' that Britain was right. 

Assassins claim they are 'decent lads' who were on a day trip to admire Salisbury not to kill ex-spy Skripal

Ruslan Boshirov, left, and Alexander Petrov, right, claim they are the victims of a smear and suggested Britain was plotting to kill them
Ruslan Boshirov, left, and Alexander Petrov, right, claim they are the victims of a smear and suggested Britain was plotting to kill them

Ruslan Boshirov, left, and Alexander Petrov, right, claim they are the victims of a smear and suggested Britain was plotting to kill them

Europe's most wanted men spoke out for the first time today and insisted they are the victims of a smear campaign. 

Here is a transcript

RT's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan: You called my cell phone, saying that you were Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov. You're Alexander Petrov, and you're Ruslan Boshirov. You do look like the people we saw in those pictures and videos from the UK. So who are you in reality?

Alexander Petrov: We are the people you saw.

Ruslan Boshirov: I'm Ruslan Boshirov.

AP: And I'm Alexander Petrov.

MS: These are your real names?

RB: Yes, these are our real names.

MS: But even now, frankly, you look very tense.

AP: What would you look like if you were in our shoes?

RB: When your whole life is turned upside down all of a sudden, overnight, and torn down.

MS: The guys we all saw in those videos from London and Salisbury, wearing those jackets and sneakers, these are you?

AP: Yes, it's us.

MS: What were you doing there?

AP: Our friends have been suggesting for quite a long time that we visit this wonderful city.

MS: Salisbury? A wonderful city?

AP: Yes.

MS: What makes it so wonderful?

RB: It's a tourist city. They have a famous cathedral there, Salisbury Cathedral. It's famous throughout Europe and, in fact, throughout the world, I think. It's famous for its 123-meter spire. It's famous for its clock. It's the oldest working clock in the world.

MS: So, you traveled to Salisbury to see the clock?

AP: No, initially we planned to go to London and have some fun there. This time, it wasn't a business trip. Our plan was to spend some time in London and then to visit Salisbury. Of course, we wanted to do it all in one day. But when we got there, even our plane could not land on the first approach. That's because of all the havoc they had with transport in the UK on March 2 and 3. Because of heavy snowfall, nearly all the cities were paralyzed. We were unable to go anywhere.

RB: It was in all the news. Railroads did not work on March 2 and 3. Highways were closed. Police cars and ambulances blocked off highways. There was no traffic at all – no trains, nothing. Why is it that nobody talks about any of this?

MS: Can you give the timeline? Minute by minute, or at least hour by hour, or as much as you can remember. You arrived in the UK – like you said, to have some fun and to see the cathedral, to see a clock in Salisbury. Can you tell us what you did in the UK? You spent two days there, right?

AP: Actually, three.

MS: OK, three. What did you do those three days?

AP: We arrived on March 2. We went to the train station to check the schedule, to see where we could go.

RB: The initial plan was to go there and return that day. Just take a look and return the same day.

AP: To Salisbury, that is. One day in Salisbury is enough. There's not much you can do there.

RB: It's a regular city. A regular tourist city.

MS: OK, I get that. That was your plan. But what did you actually do? You arrived. There was heavy snowfall. No trains, nothing. So, what did you do?

AP: No, we arrived in Salisbury on March 3. We wanted to walk around the city but since the whole city was covered with snow, we spent only 30 minutes there. We were all wet.

RB: There are no pictures. The media, television – nobody talks about the fact that the transport system was paralyzed that day. It was impossible to get anywhere because of the snow. We were drenched up to our knees.

MS: Alright. You went for a walk for 30 minutes, you got wet. What next?

AP: We traveled there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, and the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But it didn't work out because of the slush. The whole city was covered with slush. We got wet, so we went back to the train station and took the first train to go back. We spent about 40 minutes in a coffee shop at the train station.

RB: Drinking coffee. Drinking hot coffee because we were drenched.

AP: Maybe a little over an hour. That's because of the large intervals between trains. I think this was because of the snowfall. We went back to London and continued with our journey.

RB: We walked around London…

MS: So, you only spent an hour in Salisbury?

AP: On March 3? Yes. That's because it was impossible to get anywhere.

MS: What about the next day?

AP: On March 4, we went back there, because the snow melted in London, it was warm.

RB: It was sunny.

AP: And we thought, we really wanted to see Old Sarum and the cathedral. So we decided to give it another try on March 4.

MS: Another try to do what?

AP: To go sightseeing.

RB: To see this famous cathedral. To visit Old Sarum.

MS: So, did you see it?

RT editor Margarita Simonyan tweeted today that she spent the evening with the suspects and suggested that they will deny any part in the plot
RT editor Margarita Simonyan tweeted today that she spent the evening with the suspects and suggested that they will deny any part in the plot

RT editor Margarita Simonyan tweeted today that she spent the evening with the suspects and suggested that they will deny any part in the plot

RB: Yes, we did.

AP: On March 4, we did. But again, by lunchtime, there was heavy rain with snow.

RB: For some reason, nobody talks about this fact.

AP: So we left early.

MS: Is it beautiful?

RB: The cathedral is very beautiful. They have lots of tourists, lots of Russian tourists, lots of Russian-speaking tourists.

AP: By the way, they should have a lot of pictures from the cathedral.

MS: Your pictures, you mean?

AP: They should show them.

MS: I assume you took some pictures while at the cathedral?

RB: Of course.

AP: Sure, we did.

RB: We went to a park, we had some coffee. We went to a coffee shop and drank coffee. We walked around, enjoying those beautiful English Gothic buildings.

AP: For some reason, they don't show this. They only show how we went to the train station.

MS: If you give us your pictures, we can show them. So, while you were in Salisbury, did you go anywhere near the house of the Skripals?

AP: Maybe. We don't know.

RB: What about you? Do you know where their house is?

MS: I don't. Do you?

RB: We don't either.

AP: I wish somebody would tell us where it is.

RB: Maybe we passed it, or maybe we didn't. I'd never heard about them before this nightmare started. I'd never heard this name before. I didn't know anything about them.

MS: When you arrived in the UK, when you were in London or in Salisbury, throughout your whole trip, did you have any Novichok or some other poisonous agent or dangerous substance?

RB: No.

AP: It's absurd.

MS: Did you have the bottle of Nina Ricci perfume which the UK presents as evidence of your alleged crime?

RB: Don't you think that it's kind of stupid for two straight men to carry perfume for ladies? When you go through customs, they check all your belongings. So, if we had anything suspicious, they would definitely have questions. Why would a man have perfume for women in his luggage?

AP: Even an ordinary person would have questions. Why would a man need perfume for women?

MS: Where would an ordinary person see that you have a perfume bottle?

RB: I mean, when you go through customs…

MS: Long story short, did you have that Nina Ricci bottle or not?

RB: No.

AP: No, of course not.

MS: Speaking of straight men, all footage features you two together. You spent time together, you lived together, you went for a walk together. What do you have in common that you spend so much time together?

RB: You know, let's not breach anyone's privacy. We came to you for protection, but this is turning into some kind of interrogation. We are going too far. We came to you for protection. You're not interrogating us.

MS: We are journalists, we don't protect. We aren't lawyers. In fact, this was my next question. Why did you decide to go to the media? Your photos were published some time ago together with your names, but you were keeping silent. Today, you called me because you wanted to talk to the media. Why?

RB: To ask for protection.

AP: You say we kept silent. After our lives turned into a nightmare, we didn't know what to do, where to go. Police? Investigative Committee? UK Embassy?

RB: Or FSB. We didn't know.

MS: Why would you go to the UK Embassy?

AP: We really didn't know what to do. Where to go? Hello?

RB: You know, when your life is turned upside down, you don't really understand what to do and where to go. And many say, why don't you go to the UK Embassy and explain everything?

MS: And you know what they are saying about you, right?

AP: Of course we do.

RB: Yes, of course. We can't go out on the street because we are scared. We're afraid.

MS: What are you afraid of?

RB: We fear for our lives. And for the lives of our families and friends.

MS: So, you fear that the UK secret service will kill you or what?

RB: We just don't know.

AP: Simply read what they write there. They even offer a reward.

MS: What do you mean? There's a bounty on your head?

RB: Dmitry Gudkov, if I am not mistaken, promised a trip to the UK to anybody who brings us to him. Do you think it's OK? And you think we can feel just fine, walking around all smiling, talking to people? Any sensible person would be afraid'.

 

Body language expert Judy James says Russian novichok assassins looked anxious and stressed during interview in which they claimed they were just tourists

During their brazen TV appearance (pictured) the men claimed they now fear for their lives and demanded an apology from Britain and RT said they were so nervous they needed Cognac before going on air
During their brazen TV appearance (pictured) the men claimed they now fear for their lives and demanded an apology from Britain and RT said they were so nervous they needed Cognac before going on air

During their brazen TV appearance (pictured) the men claimed they now fear for their lives and demanded an apology from Britain and RT said they were so nervous they needed Cognac before going on air

Petrov sits slightly slumped rather than in a more alert, pleading style as you might do if you were trying to convince people of your innocent role. His arms and hands are hidden below the table. 

This can be used as a body version of a 'poker face', when someone is keen to hide their hands in case they give the wrong signals away, but it can also be a desire to hide and feel protected by the table barrier.

His trait of turning his chair from side to side is interesting as it could signal nervousness or it could suggest a much more controlling impatience and annoyance. His eyes remain pinned to the interviewer throughout most of the clip with what looks like a confident, piercing stare. 

Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia (pictured together in Salisbury) were poisoned with Novichok after it was smeared on his front door
Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia (pictured together in Salisbury) were poisoned with Novichok after it was smeared on his front door

Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia (pictured together in Salisbury) were poisoned with Novichok after it was smeared on his front door

When he closes his eyes and nods for an affirmative answer his emphatic facial gestures do suggest power rather than submission.

When we are in a state of stress or anxiety our blink rate often increases as the adrenalin of fear kicks in. Petrov's blink rate looks extremely slow here though. At one point he does almost five turns of his chair between blinks and this could again suggest inner strength or confidence.

When he is told they look nervous his upper lip seems to lift in a small snarl as though either the accusation annoys him or the fact his nerves have been prompted by events annoys him.

What were they doing in Salisbury? His eyes flick to the right which can suggest creative thinking, although he might have looked in that direction because he had known his friend was about to begin his travelogue of the beautiful sights of Salisbury on cue.

Alexander Petrov (left) and Ruslan Boshirov (right) have been accused by British police of being two Russian spies (pictured in their passport photos)

Boshirov is far more active during the clip and he also shows more symptoms of what could be nervousness. His first pose looks overall superficially more confident, sitting back in his chair with his elbows on the arms in a slight splay of control, but the movement of his upper chest suggests shallow rapid breathing that can occur when someone feels under pressure. 

His blink rate is also much faster than his friend's and he takes several large swallows that could also be prompted by stress or anxiety.

He swings into action when they are accused of looking 'nervous', leaning forward suddenly with both arms on the table, performing a hand-shrug before linking his fingers and forming a steeple gesture with his thumbs, which is normally a signal of power or status.

Apparently frustrated, he puffs and shrugs before sitting back leaving one hand on the table.

His 'guide book' monologue about Salisbury comes after a very deep breath and a forward stare as though he's accessing an inner script in his head.

Novichok 'assassins' may be LOVERS who were on a romantic trip to Britain when the Skripals were poisoned in Salisbury, Russian media claims 

The Russian media suggested that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were on a gay trip to Britain to help back up their bizarre story.

One online news portal even started a poll asking readers whether the pair were 'agents made to be gays or gays made to be agents'.

The speculation began when they were asked by RT: 'Speaking about normal men, on the (CCTV) video you are shown always together. You were together, lived together, walked everywhere together. What does in fact connect you?'

Boshirov replied: 'Let's not pry into our private lives.'

When online speculation began over their sexuality, interviewer 38 year old Margarita Simonyan - who is head of the Kremlin 'propaganda' channel - retorted: 'I do not know if they are gays or not.

'They are quite fashionable - with little beards, hair cuts, tight pants, sweaters tight over big biceps. They did not harass me. Anyway I'm already out of the harassable age. 

She added: 'During the interview I told them that the world least of all worries with the question if they slept in one bed or not'  

 

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By Shawn Arnette 14/09/2018 04:55:00