Two Russian men accused by Britain of carrying out the March poisoning of a former Russian spy in Salisbury, England, said Thursday it was just an "incredible, fatal coincidence" they were in the city at the time of the attack.
Britain quickly rejected the claims made by the two men, Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, in an interview on the Kremlin-funded RT channel.
London renewed its assertions that the men were officers of the Russian military intelligence service GRU and lied about their involvement in the poisoning of one-time Russian agent Sergei Skripal.
"The government is clear," Britain said, that the men "used a devastating toxic, illegal chemical weapon on the streets of our country." British authorities say the GRU dispatched the agents to Salisbury to poison Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with the nerve agent Novichok.
"We have repeatedly asked Russia to account for what happened in Salisbury in March," Britain said. "Today, just as we have seen throughout, they have responded with obfuscation and lies."
Boshirov and Petrov have been charged in absentia with carrying out the attack. In the television interview, they denied they were GRU agents and claimed to work instead in the nutrient supplements business. The suspects said they visited Salisbury to see its famous cathedral and did not know Skripal or where he lived.
"The whole situation is an incredible, fatal coincidence, and that's that," Petrov said. "What is our fault?"
Both Skripal and his daughter recovered from the attack, but a woman who came into contact with a discarded perfume bottle that contained the nerve agent died.