Suspects in Russian ex-spy poisoning case appear on TV and plead not guilty

MOSCOW, Sept. 14 — Two individuals claiming they were the suspects in the former Russian spy poisoning case appeared on television Thursday denying they were guilty.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said last week that the British police and intelligence agencies identified two Russian nationals they believe were responsible for a nerve agent attack against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March in the British city of Salisbury.
Pictures of the two individuals were widely published in the media.
The two men reached RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan by mobile phone to tell their story, Simonyan said in the footage of the interview.
The two confirmed their names, but said that they did not work for Russia’s secret services and denied any involvement in the poisoning incident.
They said they were involved in the fitness business and visited Britain as tourists wishing to do some sightseeing in Salisbury.
The two said they hoped the British police would find the guilty and present apologies.
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a plenary session of the fourth Eastern Economic Forum in the city of Vladivostok that the two suspects had been found and identified.
He said that he hoped the two civilian men, who had nothing to do with the poisoning, would explain everything to the media.
The poisoning case triggered a diplomatic row, in which Russia and some Western countries expelled a large number of each other’s diplomats.