Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov told Russia Today (RT) they were only in Salisbury on 3 March as tourists to visit the cathedral and nearby Stonehenge. They were also pictured visiting the city a day earlier.
Two Russian men accused by Britain of poisoning a former Russian spy and his daughter in England said on Thursday they had been the victims of a "fantastical coincidence" and were simply Russian businessmen on holiday overseas. Relations between the United Kingdom and Russian Federation, already frosty, plunged into crisis after the attack.
Two men accused by London of poisoning former spy Sergei Skripal denied being involved with the murder attempt in a freakish Russian media interview on Thursday that Britain dismissed as "an insult to the public's intelligence".
They spent New Year's Eve in Switzerland and have been to Vienna, the pair said.
The Russian government has denied involvement in the poisoning.More news: 9/11 anniversary gives perspective to NAFTA impasse, Freeland says
"We're afraid of going out, we fear for ourselves, our lives and lives of our loved ones", Boshirov said.
When asked by RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan whether they had a counterfeit bottle of designer perfume, which the police said contained the nerve agent, Borishov replied: "Is it silly for decent lads to have women's perfume?"
Simonyan later wrote on Twitter: "Guys, I don't know if they're gay or not". "This story is very destructive for the country's reputation". The two Russians entered the United Kingdom on an Aeroflot flight on March 2, departing March 4.
Scotland Yard published a series of photographs of the two men who, according to the investigation, were travelling around the country with passports issued in the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.
The UK believes the men are Russian military intelligence officers who tried to kill Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury last March. "This was not a rogue operation", she said.
In the House of Commons last week, May said the attack was "almost certainly" approved "at a senior level of the Russian state".More news: Putin Proposes Peace Treaty With Japan Before Year's End
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".
The same day, Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament that Petrov and Boshirov are officers from the Russian intelligence services, also known as the GRU. They were "civilians", Putin said, before encouraging them to come forward and speak to the media. "There is nothing unusual or criminal there, I assure you".
The regulator said Thursday's interview had not yet triggered any new complaints but industry experts said the network had taken a big risk by airing the interview. United Kingdom authorities blamed two former Russian agents, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, for the murder.
"From Heathrow Airport, they returned to Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2585, departing at 10.30pm on Sunday, 4 March".
Now, the two men have appeared on Russian TV in an freakish interview that included their denials - but also indirect questions about their sexual preferences, awkward stares and accounts of the weather in the quaint English town of Salisbury in early March 2017. In 2017, the U.S. imposed sanctions on him for his role in the case.More news: RNC Minerals gold strike in Western Australia sends stock soaring