In what was definitely *not* a scripted interview sanctioned by the highest levels of the Russian Government after Vladimir Putin asked them to speak to the Russian media, the Kremlin-backed Russia Today has aired an interview with the two men suspected of committing the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.
In the sit down interview with the head of the state-funded channel the pair, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, insisted they are not intelligence agents, and that they had simply, innocently, been on a two-day trip to see Salisbury Cathedral.
This short, off-season international jaunt just happened to coincide precisely with the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union.
Here are seven other totally normal things claimed in the interview:
1) They Were Just Visiting Salisbury Cathedral On Recommendations From Friends
The men insisted they wanted to visit the “wonderful town” of Salisbury and see its famous cathedral.
In fact, the building made such an impression on the pair that despite flying all the way from Moscow to London, they decided to try and visit it twice in two days.
Oh, and they didn’t visit any of the even more famous cathedrals in London.
2) Their First Attempt Was Thwarted By The Notoriously Bad English Weather Which They Definitely Weren’t Used To
Speaking of their first trip to Salisbury on Saturday 3 March, Petrov said the town was “covered by this slush”.
“We got wet, took the nearest train and came back (to London).”
Both men had just flown from – and would return to – Moscow where it was -8 degrees and snowing.
3) They Definitely Didn’t Prep For The Interview By Reading Wikipedia
During the interview, Boshirov said: “There’s the famous Salisbury Cathedral, famous not only in Europe but in the whole world. It’s famous for its 123-metre spire, it’s famous for its clock, the one of the first-ever created in the world that is still working.”
Salisbury Cathedral is arguably more famous for containing the best surviving of the four original copies of Magna Carta – famous enough for Jay-Z to pop by in 2013 – yet the two men never mention it...
And it’s certainly only a coincidence these two facts they did mention in exactly the same order right at the very top of Salisbury Cathedral’s page (which also had a comedic addition shortly after the interview aired).
4) They Really Wanted To See Stonehenge But Couldn’t Make It
They may have seen the cathedral but the pair must have been gutted not to be able to make it to Stonehenge, which was actually closed on 3 March due to the snow.
Petrov said: “Of course, we went there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, but we couldn’t do it because there was muddy slush everywhere.”
BUT BEHOLD, THE SLUSH HAVETH MELTED.
“On March 4 we returned [to Salisbury] because everything had melted away in London, there was warm and sunny weather. We specifically went there [again] to see the Old Sarum and the cathedral and decided to finish this thing on March 4,” said Petrov.
Only they never went.
Maybe the pair were distracted by the novelty of the melting slush which they definitely don’t ever get in Russia but they appear to have missed the buses that were definitely running that day.
5) Instead Of Visiting Historical Sites They Took A Stroll To Nowhere
After choosing not to go to and visit Stonehenge and Old Sarum, the lure of a second visit to the 123m spire of the cathedral must have gotten the better of them and they headed back there instead
Only they didn’t.
Instead they travelled in exactly the opposite direction towards Wilton Road...
... very close to where a certain Mr Skripal lives.
Notable tourist sites in the immediate vicinity include... well, nothing really.
6) They’re Decent Lads Just Doing Decent Things
When asked if they were carrying a nerve agent disguised in a bottle of perfume, Boshirov said: “Isn’t it silly for decent lads to have women’s perfume?
“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.”
Russia is a notoriously homophobic country so it’s hard to see how carrying perfume is seen as less “decent” than two men travelling without their partners on a jaunt to England and staying in the same hotel room.
This was actually touched upon in an exchange in the interview.
Interviewer: “Speaking of you being straight men, all the footage features you two together. You spent time together, you stayed together, you went for a walk together. What do you have in common that you spend so much time together?”
Boshirov: “You know, let’s not breach anyone’s privacy. We came to you for protection, but this is turning into some kind of an interrogation. You are going too far. We came to you for protection. You’re not interrogating us.”
7) RT Never Confirmed Who They Are
Buried in the bottom of the RT article is the following line:
“They demanded that only one camera run during the interview and refused to show their IDs.”