Two Russians resembling men Britain accuses of jetting to England to murder a former spy said on Thursday that they were innocent tourists who had flown to London for fun and visited the city of Salisbury to see its cathedral.
The British Foreign Office's response to the interview that Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, whom London suspects of being involved in the Skripal poisoning, gave to the RT TV channel, points to the problems that Theresa May's government is facing, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook on Thursday.
"The duo surfaced a day after President Putin said Russian Federation had located Petrov and Boshirov, but that there was nothing special or criminal about them". Boshirov added that the two wanted to see the "famous" cathedral's 132-meter spire and clock.
Britain has charged the two men with attempting to murder former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia by spraying a chemical weapon on Skripal's door in March.
The U.S., France, Canada and Germany said they had "full confidence" in the U.K.'s assessment that the two suspects were Russian agents and that the operation "was with the greatest probability approved at high levels of the government".
They said they "got wet, took the nearest train and came back" to London.
The men denied the allegations and said they visited Salisbury on March 3 for tourism but stayed for 30 minutes only.
"Is it silly for decent lads to have women's perfume?", RT quoted Boshirov as saying in remarks translated into English.
Asked whether they had recently been to any European state, the two said they had.
May spokeswoman Alison Donnelly told reporters Thursday the United Kingdom remains confident "These men are officers of the Russian military intelligence service who used a devastatingly toxic chemical weapon on the streets of our country". "We were just taking in the English gothic", Boshirov said.
Russian Federation has repeatedly denied any involvement.
In a translation from Russian, the broadcaster quoted Petrov as saying: 'Well, we came there on March 2, then went to a railway station to see the timetable.
"Today - just as we have seen throughout - they have responded with obfuscation and lies".
Addressing CCTV pictures of both men passing through a gate at Gatwick airport at exactly the same time, Mr Boshirov said: "We always go together through the same corridor and the same custom service officer or a policeman". "There is nothing special there, nothing criminal, I assure you".
Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov confirmed they are the men accused of carrying out the attack in the interview with RT.
Putin appeared to suggest they should tell their story publicly.
CCTV footage showing Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov on Fisherton Road, Salisbury, on March 4.
Questioned on whether the pair were civilians, Mr Putin replied: 'Of course they are civilians'.
The duo surfaced a day after President Vladimir Putin said Russian Federation had located Petrov and Boshirov, but that there was nothing special or criminal about them.