The interview with Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, named as suspects in the Salisbury poisoning, appeared on on Thursday. Speaking to editor-in-chief, Maragarita Simonyan both said they had been wrongly accused by the UK of attempted murder of the ex-Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
Although they claimed they went there to see the sights, the British were quick to denounce the interview as a blow to the “public’s intelligence.” has been told that no matter what, the UK will not change its view on the matter.
“The British government locked itself into the corner, into a certain position” insisting Petrov and Boshirov were the perpetrators, said Martin McCauley, author and Russia analyst. “Therefore it cannot say: ‘Sorry, we made a terrible mistake here’. Because it will lose face if it did that.”
After London expelled numerous Russian diplomats and after sanctions were imposed on Russia, “you can’t really go back and say ‘the evidence is not there, we back away from that’.” From a credibility point of view, the British government must stick to that position, McCauley asserted.
Asked what could persuade London of the pair’s innocence, he responded: “I can’t see anything which could really change the British government’s attitude and its conviction that these two men were perpetrators, that they were the ones who brought Novichok into the country.”
Neil Clark, a UK-based journalist and writer, said he would dig deeper into the story to try to find other missing pieces in the puzzle. “And the CCTV coverage as well… we didn’t see any footage of the Skripals on the day of the poisoning,” he told . He lamented that the UK claims revolve around “this limited footage of these two suspects.”
Just days ago the UK government and the mainstream media suggested that these men would be dead by now, he continued, referring to a Daily Mail interview with Andrey Piontkovsky, a leading Russia critic. “That was the official narrative three days ago. And then what happens? These men contact and are interviewed.”
“And then, of course, it is forgotten that we were told they are already dead,” Clark said. “The story then changes to what they said was a pack of lies.” The other blank spot is the timeline of events, he said.
“If these two men – the suspects – arrived in Salisbury at 11.40am and the Skripals left their home at 9.15am how was it they were poisoned on the door handle of their home?” Clark asked before adding: “We got no evidence that they actually returned home. We got no CCTV of this, and this is interesting.”
Skripal, a former Russian double agent, was poisoned along with his daughter in central Salisbury in March. The UK pinned the blame on Russia for the incident, with Prime Minister Theresa May claiming that Petrov and Boshirov were members of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service. Earlier this week, President Vladimir Putin dismissed the claim, saying the two were civilians with no criminal background.