Quantcast
Connect with us

Poisoning suspects ‘tourism’ claims raise eyebrows even in Russia

Published

on

Two Russian men’s claims that they were innocent tourists wrongly branded would-be assassins met with mockery in Britain Friday and even raised eyebrows in the usually patriotic Russian media.

The men said that far from plotting to poison a turncoat spy with a deadly nerve agent, they were actually just in England to admire the Gothic architecture in the city of Salisbury.

ADVERTISEMENT

In an interview aired by Russian broadcaster RT on Thursday, the men identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov said they had nothing to do with the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

The poisoning on March 4 dragged Moscow’s relations with London and other Western powers to a low point not seen since the Cold War.

London said the two men were Russian agents, which Moscow denies.

The interview prompted scorn and mockery in Britain.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The last time Russian military claimed to be on holiday was when they invaded Ukraine in 2014,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted.

In Russia meanwhile, Kommersant newspaper questioned why the men were not able show identification or give further details about their work or private lives.

Petrov and Boshirov said they worked as entrepreneurs in the fitness and supplements industries, but business paper RBK said it had found no business registered under their two names in Russia.

ADVERTISEMENT

The paper also noted they showed no evidence they had ever made it to Salisbury cathedral, which they cited as the city’s main draw.

The newspaper Vedomosti headlined its report on the broadcast: “An interview, but no information”.

Social media users in Russia and Britain were scathing of the claims.

ADVERTISEMENT

“What a bold move, to rely on Sunday trains to get themselves to Salisbury and back and then to Heathrow,” one Twitter user noted, in reference to Britain’s unreliable weekend rail services.

“The Spy Who Went Home Because It Was Cold,” another wrote.

– ‘Normal pair’ –

ADVERTISEMENT

Yet some on the streets of Moscow took the men’s claims at face value.

“I think they’re telling the truth… They’re a normal pair who just got into trouble, I’m sure they feel pretty bad now,” said Leonid, a 58-year-old entrepreneur.

“They explained everything simply and clearly yesterday, why they went there, what they were doing there, what the weather was like,” he told AFP.

ADVERTISEMENT

The men raised eyebrows when they said they had been to the cathedral city twice in two days because heavy snow forced them to turn back on their first visit.

They reeled off facts about the “beautiful city” and the friends’ recommendations that had inspired them to visit.

RT head Margarita Simonyan, who conducted the interview, hinted the men could be a gay couple during the broadcast and later on Twitter.

ADVERTISEMENT

But Maria Kazimi, a student in Moscow, rejected the idea the pair were either a gay couple or spies on a killing mission.

“Why can’t two friends go to a city and spend time together?” the 18-year-old asked.

“I think they’re just two guys who have been blamed for this — now they’re in shock, they’re scared, they don’t know what to do.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Asked about apparent inconsistencies in the two men’s story, 44-year-old Muscovite Ivan Raspopov joked: “You know, Russian tourists often become rather strange in the West.”

He said only a comedian would be able to properly evaluate the interview.

The Kremlin meanwhile dismissed as “absurd” London’s claim that the interview contained “lies and blatant fabrications”.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Russians are accused of putting the nerve agent Novichok on the front door handle of former double agent Skripal in the poisoning attack on March 4.

He and his daughter Yulia became seriously ill, while a police officer on the case was also hospitalised.

They all recovered but a fake perfume bottle containing Novichok was picked up by a local man. He gave it to his girlfriend, who later died.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

MSNBC anchor blasts Trump’s ‘lunacy’ after ‘a Twitter tirade that sent the Dow spiraling’

Published

on

The New York Stock Exchange closed down over 600 points on Friday as President Donald Trump's trade war with China escalated.

MSNBC anchor John Heilemann said, "we’re hours away for the president taking off to the G7 summit in Bairritz, France, where allies are bracing for the Trump-fueled mayhem that is now 100% certain to ensue, with Trump like a drunken traveler in the departure lounge about to take a trip that he dreads, already sewing global chaos, days-long public meltdown typically moved from words to actions."

"Donald Trump beginning this day with a Twitter tirade that sent the Dow spiraling, closing down more than 600 points today and escalating his trade war with China with these norm-shattering, power-abusing words in this tweet," he said, putting the tweet on-screen.

Continue Reading

Facebook

Ex-Houston cop is charged with murder after his fraudulent search warrant got a couple killed

Published

on

Former Houston police officer Gerald Goines has been indicted on felony murder charges in relation to a drug raid in January that left a couple dead, the Houston Chronicle reported this Friday.

Questions about the raid, which took place January 28, began to swirl when it was revealed that Goines had lied to obtain the search warrant. The raid resulted in a shootout that killed 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas and 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle. Goines was also wounded in the shootout as were four other officers.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

‘Making things worse’: National Farmer’s Union chief unloads on Trump in blistering statement on trade war

Published

on

Roger Johnson, the president of the National Farmers Union, delivered a blistering rebuke to President Donald Trump after he responded to new tariffs from China by issuing a purported "order" telling American companies to look for alternative places to manufacture their goods.

In an official statement, Johnson pointed out that farmers so far have felt the brunt of the president's trade war, as China has slapped heavy tariffs on key agricultural products such as soybeans.

He also crushed the president for failing to make any progress on reopening the Chinese market to American goods.

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image