On September 13th, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s official spokesman commented on the interview with the two men identified as suspects in the Salisbury nerve agent attack by RT.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said that the interview contained “lies and blatant fabrications” that “are an insult to the public’s intelligence”. He added: “More importantly, they are deeply offensive to the victims and loved ones of this horrific attack.”
The spokesman added: “An illegal chemical weapon has been used on the streets of this country. We have seen four people left seriously ill in hospital and an innocent woman has died. Russia has responded with contempt.”
The official spokesperson added that this is what the UK authorities have come to expect.
The prime minister’s spokesman also said that police had set out “very clearly” the evidence against the two Russians.
The UK Foreign Office earlier claimed that the two suspects, Russian nationals Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, deliberately lied and distorted facts in the interview to RT earlier in the day. A Foreign Office spokesperson told TASS that the Russians are still being viewed as main suspects in the case.
The Guardian reported that the UK said that it wanted to put the two men on trial, but the authorities have said they will not attempt to seek their extradition because Russia does not comply with extradition requests. Downing Street No. 10 said the two were “wanted men” and must be “brought to justice in the UK”.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in a Facebook post said that the British Foreign Office’s response to the interview with Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov “points to the problems that Theresa May’s government is facing.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on September 12th that Russia had identified the two men accused by the UK of being spies who had carried out the Salisbury poisoning. The Russian president said they were civilians and called for them to come forward. Which they did in their interview, released by RT.
On September 13th, the US also responded to the developments, with US Assistant Secretary of State Manisha Singh saying that the Trump administration is ready to impose a new and “very severe” round of sanctions against Russia in November if Moscow does not take certain steps in the wake of the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom.
“We have indicated to them that they can evade, they can make themselves not subject to these sanctions if they allow the onsite inspections, if they give us a verifiable assurance that they will not use these nerve agents against their own people again,” Singh said. “They have not done so so far, so to that extent, we are looking at this November deadline as absolutely, we plan to impose a very severe second round of sanctions under the CBW [Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act].”
This follows the early August announcement of a new round of sanctions over the alleged poisoning, the first batch of restrictions went into effect on August 22nd, with the second are likely to be imposed in November, if Moscow doesn’t comply to US demands.
The interview conducted by RT’s Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan was very suspect, with both Alexander and Ruslan being very unconvincing. They confirmed that their names were not aliases, as the UK Police claimed. Alexander and Ruslan said that they were just mid-level entrepreneurs and traveled to Salisbury as tourists on friends’ advice.
Craig Murray reported that their story seemed highly improbable, however after looking at the Twitter storm which seemed to prove that all of the things that seemed impossible, were actually highly possible. With Stonehenge, really being closed on March 3rd, roads being blocked by snow, etc. The part of just flying to the UK just to see the Salisbury cathedral also makes sense, after people recalled famous rapper Jay Z’s visit to Salisbury to see the Original “Magna Carta” in the cathedral. Murray also wrote: “Even more strange is the idea that it is wildly improbable for Russian visitors to wish to visit Salisbury cathedral and Stonehenge. Salisbury Cathedral is one of the most breathtaking achievements of Norman architecture, one of the great cathedrals of Europe. It attracts a great many foreign visitors. Stonehenge is world famous and a world heritage site.”