The prime suspects in the Salisbury nerve agent attack have denied being part of an assassination attempt – instead claiming they visited the Wiltshire area as ‘tourists’.
Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov told Russian state-funded news channel RT they travelled to the English city to see Stonehenge and Old Sarum.
UK authorities believe the pair smeared the highly toxic chemical Novichok on a door handle at the Wiltshire home of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, leaving Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia critically ill.
In the men’s first interview since they were named publicly they denied carrying the women’s perfume bottle that contained the nerve agent.
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.
RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said they had called her mobile because they wanted to tell their story.
But their explanations for their Salisbury trip don’t quite add up – here’s what they said and why it doesn’t make sense…
‘We arrived in Salisbury on 3 March and tried to walk through the town, but we lasted for only half an hour because it was covered in snow.’
While it was certainly cold in March and there was snow in Salisbury on the day they were there, there was certainly no snow on the ground of the CCTV footage of them as they walked through town so it can’t have been that bad. And it’s not like Russians aren’t used to a bit of inclement weather.
‘The town was covered by this slush. We got wet, took the nearest train and came back (to London).’
So was it snow or was it actually slush? And they didn’t make much effort to see the sights after a long flight from Russia.
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’The customs are checking everything, they would have questions as to why men have women’s perfume in their luggage. We didn’t have it.’
Somehow, we’re not convinced that even if they were to innocently have a bottle of genuine perfume in their luggage, customs would not be too concerned about it just because they were men.
‘There’s the famous Salisbury cathedral, famous for its 123-metre spire, its clock, the first one [of its kind] ever created in the world, which is still working.’
Who knew that Salisbury Cathedral’s spire was 123 metres tall? Did you? We didn’t. They must be keen spire buffs. They seem to know a lot about the cathedral in general and absolutely did not read these facts on Wikipedia in the last few days.
‘We spent no more than an hour in Salisbury, mainly because of the lags between trains.’
So they travelled all the way from Russia to Salisbury to see the ‘famous’ cathedral spire (which is 123 metres tall, in case you didn’t know), as well as Stonehenge and Old Sarum, but they only spent an hour there because of the trains? Then they flew back home after a couple of days? But also it was because of the snow. And the slush. Makes total sense.
‘Maybe we did [approach] Skripal’s house, but we don’t know where is it located.’
Just a coincidence that the men were [possibly] close to the house of a former Russian military spy on their two-day trip to Salisbury all the way from Russia to see the sights that they didn’t see because of the snow and slush that was all over the floor but were only there for an hour because of the trains.