The Strange Russian Alibi 1067

Like many, my first thought at the interview of Boshirov and Petrov – which apparently are indeed their names – is that they were very unconvincing. The interview itself seemed to be set up around a cramped table with a poor camera and lighting, and the interviewer seemed pretty hopeless at asking probing questions that would shed any real light.

I had in fact decided that their story was highly improbable, until I started seeing the storm of twitter posting, much of it from mainstream media journalists, which stated that individual things were impossible which were, in fact, not impossible at all.

The first and most obvious regards the weather on 3 and 4 March. It is in fact absolutely true that, if the two had gone down to Salisbury on 3 March with the intention of going to Stonehenge, they would have been unable to get there because of the snow. It is therefore perfectly possible that they went back the next day to try again; and public transport out of Salisbury was still severely disrupted, and many roads closed, on 4 March. Proof of this is not at all difficult to find.

This image is from the Salisbury Journal’s liveblog on 4 March.

Those mocking the idea that the pair were blocked by snow from visiting Stonehenge have pointed to the CCTV footage of central Salisbury not showing snow on the afternoon of 4 March. Well, that is central Salisbury, it had of course been salted and cleared. Outside there were drifts.

So that part of their story in fact turns out not to be implausible as social media is making out; in fact it fits precisely with the actual facts.

The second part of their story that has brought ridicule is the notion that two Russians would fly to the UK for the weekend and try to visit Salisbury. This ridicule has been very strange to me. Weekend breaks – arrive on Friday and return on Sunday – are a standard part of the holiday industry. Why is it apparently unthinkable that Russians fly on weekend breaks as well as British people?

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. I went on holiday this year and visited Wurzburg to see the Bishop’s Palace, and then the winery cooperative at Sommerach. Because somebody does not choose to spend their leisure time on a beach in Benidorm does not make them a killer. Lots of people go to Salisbury Cathedral.

There seems to be a racist motif here – Russians cannot possibly have intellectual or historical interests, or afford weekend breaks.

The final meme which has worried me is “if they went to see the cathedral, why did they visit the Skripal house?” Well, no evidence at all has been presented that they visited the Skripal house. They were captured on CCTV walking past a petrol station 500 yards away – that is the closest they have been placed to the Skripal house.

The greater mystery about these two is, if they did visit the Skripal House and paint Novichok on the doorknob, why did they afterwards walk straight past the railway station again and head into Salisbury city centre, where they were caught window shopping in a coin and souvenir shop with apparently not a care in the world, before eventually returning to the train station? It seems a very strange attitude to a getaway after an attempted murder. In truth their demeanour throughout the photographs is consistent with their tourism story.

The Russians have so far presented this pair in a very unconvincing light. But on investigation, the elements of their story which are claimed to be wildly improbable are not inconsistent with the facts.

There remains the much larger question of the timing.

The Metropolitan Police state that Boshirov and Petrov did not arrive in Salisbury until 11.48 on the day of the poisoning. That means that they could not have applied a nerve agent to the Skripals’ doorknob before noon at the earliest. But there has never been any indication that the Skripals returned to their home after noon on Sunday 4 March. If they did so, they and/or their car somehow avoided all CCTV cameras. Remember they were caught by three CCTV cameras on leaving, and Borishov and Petrov were caught frequently on CCTV on arriving.

The Skripals were next seen on CCTV at 13.30, driving down Devizes road. After that their movements were clearly witnessed or recorded until their admission to hospital.

So even if the Skripals made an “invisible” trip home before being seen on Devizes Road, that means the very latest they could have touched the doorknob is 13.15. The longest possible gap between the novichok being placed on the doorknob and the Skripals touching it would have been one hour and 15 minutes. Do you recall all those “experts” leaping in to tell us that the “ten times deadlier than VX” nerve agent was not fatal because it had degraded overnight on the doorknob? Well that cannot be true. The time between application and contact was between a minute and (at most) just over an hour on this new timeline.

In general it is worth observing that the Skripals, and poor Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, all managed to achieve almost complete CCTV invisibility in their widespread movements around Salisbury at the key times, while in contrast “Petrov and Boshirov” managed to be frequently caught in high quality all the time during their brief visit.

This is especially remarkable in the case of the Skripals’ location around noon on 4 March. The government can only maintain that they returned home at this time, as they insist they got the nerve agent from the doorknob. But why was their car so frequently caught on CCTV leaving, but not at all returning? It appears very much more probable that they came into contact with the nerve agent somewhere else, while they were out.

I shall write a further post on these timing questions shortly.

1,067 thoughts on “The Strange Russian Alibi

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  • lokyc

    I admit i’m ignorant on architecture, but my Spanish father-in-law, who is well-travelled and incdentally now lives in Benidorm, was keen to visit the Cathedral. I have colleagues who gush about the City as a great place for a weekend break (they have friends there) and she even had her wedding there. Now suddenly Salisbury is like…. Staines (remember Ali G?).
    They’re nervous? Why wouldn’t they be? Ever being interviewed on TV? I had once. I was nervous. And I wasn’t accused of murder with a Europol arrest warrant!
    They would probably preferred not to give any interviews. Why would that be strange? Any duress would be to force them on camera. But their story is not implausible at all!

    • craig Post author

      This is speculation, but I worry that one reason for their nervousness could be that they are a gay couple. In which case – Russian society being unpleasantly often intolerant – the British government may have ruined their lives.

      • Nelly

        That they are a gay couple has been my theory from the moment their photos were released. Either that or close friends as something about the way they stood in the photos made me think they were close.

          • John A

            As the pair themselves say, why would they bring the alleged novochok in a women’s perfume bottle? I think the pair look like a gay couple, no harm in that, but certainly a beady eyed customs/security guard might well ask why they had women’s perfume with them/

            Apropos gay problems in Russia. There is homophobia in Russia but no more or less than in most countries. The alleged persecution laws are similar to Thatcher’s Clause 28.

          • Merkin Scot

            “…..but certainly a beady eyed customs/security guard might well ask why they had women’s perfume with them/”.
            Aaaaaaargh! Women’s perfume! The clincher! Must be gay!
            So, presumably my gay friends who do not buy perfume must be deluding themselves.

          • AliB

            I share a room with my female friend when going on holiday- a room with twin beds. Its a lot cheaper than getting 2 singles – assuming you could find such things, and usually a lot nicer room.

      • Republicofscotland

        Good point they did appear uncomfortable when asked why they were always together. However acting as a gay couple could’ve been their cover and sharing a hotel room would fit that agenda.

        Just throwing it out there.

      • BoMbY

        Yeah, I think that is indeed very likely, especially considering this part of the interview:

        “SIMONYAN: Speaking of you being straight men, all the footage features you two together. You spent time together, you stayed together, you went for a walk together. What do you have in common that you spend so much time together?

        BOSHIROV: You know, let’s not breach anyone’s privacy. We came to you for protection, but this is turning into some kind of an interrogation. You are going too far. We came to you for protection. You’re not interrogating us.”

        And later it almost sounds like they live together in Russia, when they talk about being mentioned on the TV all the time.

      • Charles Bostock


        l’ve never seen anything like you for always managing to deflect blame back onto the UK, USA and the West.

        If they are a gay couple, their lives have been “ruined” by the British government…and not, of course, by the intolerance of Russian society to which you allude.

        And, by the way, were you not among those who were complaining that the UK government wasn’t releasing information? And now it has, you find something to complain about there as well.


        • BoMbY

          The UK government has released accusations, but pretty much no proof for that. Only some circumstantial evidence. They repeated their claim that both of them are GRU officers for example, but have given no hint whatsoever to what that is based on. Secret evidence is helping nobody at this point.

          • James Clarke19

            Circumstancial evidence and other (possible DNA/ Fingerprint) evidence as well as undisclosed CCTV footage was enough to convince the SNP high command. Maybe you should trust them for once?

        • bj

          Yes, it almost –bot not quite– reminds me of the deranged sort of people springing forward, their arms spread, fuming and foaming at the mouth, to defend poor defenseless Isr4el.

      • Dungroanin

        Seems as if they need a decent, independent Lawyer to take on their accusers here.

        Shall we crowd fund them?

        • Josh

          Was there supposed to be a red notice on Interpol about either of these two? There isn’t. And it makes no sense to waive away the extradition request, because demanding extradition (and it being refused) could be a major PR coup for the UK government. The issue with extradition requests is, you have to give some evidence to the country concerned. And the UK doesn’t want to do that – maybe because what they have is shaky at best.
          The interview, to me, seems indeed the type where bumbling is a proof of truth. What these guys are hiding is that (1) they want to keep their business going, which is going to be very difficult (2) they resented their being potentially ‘outed’ as gay is a possibility although I know quite a few people, also Russian middle class men, who have shared a bed to save money (3) they are asking for protection, talk about confusion of where to go; those are all perfectly reasonable thoughts.
          Look at it from the tight timeline for the suspects, the weather details that add up, the toxin which is ever more mysterious in its ways and arbitrary in its victims, etc.
          The managed communication pieces by Yulia, the discord between police and political statements, and all of the above reek to high heaven of a British intel blooper or action gone terribly wrong and being covered up.

          • Tom Welsh

            “The issue with extradition requests is, you have to give some evidence to the country concerned”.

            Not with the European Arrest Warrant, you don’t. It’s issued by a prosecutor and no evidence whatsoever is needed.

            Anyone who didn’t know that may want to find out a bit more about the EU before opposing Brexit.

      • lokyc

        My thoughts too. Yes, the Russian government is intolerant of them. We can’t change that. But if they are singled out for fulfil the political agenda of another state, the latter bears responsibility. Even if they’re not gay, and fit the model Russian citizen, they have lost their privacy as private citizens. A right to a private life is in the European Convention of Human Rights. O yea, that’s why we’re leaving Europe…

        • Paul Greenwood

          European Convention predates the EU and was founded by UK – you really should learn some British History

          • lokyc

            I am aware of that. Hence its ironic the right-wing Brexiteers are so keen to repeal it. Correcting past “mistakes” I suppose.

          • Tom Welsh

            lokyc, I am struggling to understand your logic but I simply can’t.

            The UK government first asserted the right to private life.

            Then the UK joined the EU, which adopted that right (copying the UK).

            Now the UK leaves the EU, and you somehow feel it will thereby cease to recognize that right?

      • TJ

        That was my thinking also, it also may explain why Boshirov makes the strange comment about there only being one bed in the room that was shown to be theirs and that other rooms have more beds. They also don’t want to talk about their fitness business, perhaps their clients are also gay and not out, given it is Russia. If this is the case, have HMG committed a “hate crime” by outing them in what is obviously a hostile environment?

        • Paul Greenwood

          Why shouldn’t UK Government commit ” a hate crime” ? it is surely the least of their foibles when you consider the way UK facilitates destruction in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Libya………the destruction of a couple of gay men in Russia is hardly comparable to killing children in a bus in Yemen or setting up poison gas attacks.

          If they are gay men they have learned not to visit UK. In USA Russians find it hard to get work now that Guilt By Association damns anyone speaking Russian or knowing Russians.

          US/UK are waging war against Russia and have been for some years now. Gorbachev was taken for a ride by Thatcher and Reagan and proved precisely why Uncle Joe was paranoid and wanted a buffer zone from Elbe to Dniester

      • isa

        I agree, that was my first thought. Some societies are far more intolerant than others on matters of sexual orientation.

        Like many I started by feeling rather suspicious of the whole interview but then read it with some more attention and everything made sense and fits with the timings.

        I also agree that there is some xenophobia of depicting Russian tourists as ignorants that could not possibly want to see a cathedral.
        I think you will understand me when I say that, on a totally different scale of course, this affair reminds me of the McCann affair and how Portugal was depicted by the media and the British state’s blessing. Different cases all together but the same principle is there, the same tones of xenophobia and superiority: Accusation of the oficial institutions of a country with no evidence and some imperialist view of another country as one with corrupt governments authorities and a stupid population . As in the case of litvinenko, the same PR/Spin company was hired -Bell Pottinger- and no doubt they would be hired again by someone had they not been exposed . Sadly I am quite sure there are many other Bell Pottinger type companies out there.

        Going back to the interview, all is consistent with timings and the fact that these men are shown on CCTV clearly not hiding, taking their time , used their real names, etc. I think people are having doubts after the interview because to believe them we have to realise that someone in charge went through databases of Russian arrivals and departures matched CCTV and databases until they found two patsies who had gone to Salisbury on the suitable datesin order to implicate them. And that is rather difficult to believe because it would be the ultimate deception and it is almost unthinkable, it is easier to think they are lying.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Some societies are far more intolerant than others on matters of sexual orientation.

          I think you will find “some” can be replaced by “most”

          Once “Westerners” get out of their Neo-Colonial Mindset they will find very few people in the world share their “values” and increasingly will express their opposition. Now Europe is 15% global GDP whereas its current members were 30% in 1980 – and UK is 16% EU GDP and Germany 21% – so work out without UK it is down to say 12.5%.

          Insignificance is Growing

      • George_Cardiff

        This is exactly what I came to write down, you got it faster again. They clearly didn’t want to come forward for more than one reason. Their lives and their business will be ruined, as they observed. Another murky area is their business, that they don’t want to talk about. Perhaps connected to something that you don’t want to shout about. I think the Russians figured out the facts and left them fend for themselves. I didn’t expect much from this interview, but obvious now that they are not the killers.

        • Dungroanin

          Either they are as accused. Agents of a state somehow involved in an assassination plot.
          OR they are wholly innocent bystanders circumstantially accused.

          Either way unless they are ordered to be arrested they can appoint a lawyer to represent their innocence in the courts of London. Any of our great learned friends ready to take it on? Are the accused?

          This trial by media is what Leveson was about. It was shelved and still goes on.

          It is ignoble and rancid.

      • Jude D

        Also, they seemed very keen to explain the shared room – protesting too much and all that. It’s as if they were almost as worried about being outed as gay as about the other stuff.

      • Tom Welsh

        Their sexual orientation is no business of yours, mine, or anyone else’s. Moreover it has no bearing whatsoever even on the fantastic slanders that have been levelled at them.

        Everything I have heard recently suggests that Russian society is far more open-minded and tolerant than British, American or even French society. That probably extends to sexual orientation.

        As for the British government having ruined their lives, well duh. Isn’t that what the British government does? Their lives have not (yet) been as thoroughly ruined as the tends of thousands (or more) whom the British government has murdered in various foreign countries.

    • craig Post author

      I think the idea is they went once, found everything shut down with the storm (which it was on 3 March, the Beast from the East) so tried again the next day.

      • sc

        Wouldn’t you check that the weather was better before trying again the next day? And if not, go and see something else.

        • Charles Bostock

          Most sensible people certainly would. They could have gone south-west to Winchester instead (very nice cathedral there as well).

        • Nelly

          When you fly to a country with a place in mind that you really want to visit. Even when the weather is bad you usually try to see if you can possibly make it.

          • Aslangeo

            That would be the sensible thing to do – but Russians are used to snow, and probably could not imagine that an advanced country like Britain would shut down because of a snowflake or two.

            Tourist tend not to be that knowledgeable, they probably looked up the ways of getting there on the internet and set off. I do not know how good their English was. In terms of visiting another city such as Winchester or Bath, assuming they were genuine tourists, they were probably set on seeing Stonehenge, I looks so close on a large map

          • Sc

            Yes, true. The south west weather was awful that weekend so there was information about road closures and bus routes, but likely not obvious to tourists.

        • Paul Greenwood

          How does “the weather” tell you if roads are clear……UK information is spotty at best

      • DiggerUK

        Their reconnaissance mission shows them that the uk transport system is on emergency measures due to the weather. Despite their plans being put at risk, they go ahead with their reckless plan instead of postponing.

        They both seemed very concerned that nobody should read too much into them sharing a bed together at their hotel. That was made much clearer when they said it would be suspicious if a man was found with a bottle of women’s perfume at customs. Don’t forget, Russia has a deep seated homophobic problem.

        Their biggest mistake was thinking that they need to protect their business colleagues. The world hack pack will be all over that story by this evening…_

        PART 2. A reminder of what the weather was like that weekend.

        …..”March began with an exceptionally cold easterly airstream, which brought widespread snow with daytime temperatures staying below freezing in many parts of the country”……

        …..”1st to 4th

        The 1st was bitterly cold, with a maximum of only -3.7 °C at Pennerley (Salop) and Little Rissington (Gloucestershire) and significant snow for most parts, with over 50 cm reported in Cumbria and Northumberland; Storm Emma brought disruptive snowfall and strong winds to the south-west from mid-afternoon, which turned to freezing rain in some southern coastal parts. Outbreaks of snow still affected the south and south-west on the 2nd, with light snow showers in the north-east, and very wet with rain, sleet and snow in the Midlands and East Anglia from mid-afternoon. It remained very cold with an overnight minimum temperature of -10.0 °C at Alston Springhouse Park (Cumbria), and windy too with gusts of 84 mph reported at Warcop (Cumbria). It turned milder on the 3rd with rain for the south-west, spreading along the south coast, and patchy rain, sleet and snow in the north. The 4th started with 57 cm of snow at Little Rissington (Gloucestershire) had showers and longer spells of rain over the West Midlands and south-west, with rain and sleet further north, and it was became wet across East Anglia and the south-east later…..”

        • Paul Greenwood

          Don’t forget, Russia has a deep seated homophobic problem.

          There are other ways of expressing that less salutary with respect to UK

          • Ian

            Small problem for that assertion Paul, Mr Putin before the opening of the Sochi games was on the TV, saw it myself saying “yes we are tolerant of gay men coming here but they should keep away from the children”.
            I wonder if Mrs May would have said the same thing to journalists, and in front of TV cameras.

  • Robert Stuart

    This RT piece states at the end:

    [Simonyan] “Here is the picture that puzzled the whole world, Gatwick airport, you are leaving through a gate literally in the same times, almost the same second. How did it happen?” she asked.

    “We always go together through the same corridor and the same custom service officer or a policeman. One goes, the other waits. We went through the corridor together, we always [do it] together. How did it happen? It’s better to ask them [UK police],” Boshirov replied.

    Is this a reference to the “Impossible Photo” of P&B arriving (NB not leaving) Gatwick that you concluded was likely a red herring? (

    If so, then B’s claim that they always go through the same corridor either (a) resurrects the point about the timestamp or (b) contradicts those who claimed that the pics are of 2 different corridors (e.g. different camera tilt).

    • uncle tungsten

      Thanks Robert, I fully agree with your observation. Had the interviewer been up to scratch this could have been a better informed process. However it does appear to be that claim they followed each other through the one corridor rather than split up. If so the official UK images are a contrivance. This contentious point could be easily cleared if there were cctv from another camera that gives an overall view of the exits and is equally timestamped. I assume there is such a perspective and that the UK state apparatus will not be releasing any data to the public.

      Surely there are images from the cathedral?

    • craig Post author

      I am not trying to convince you of anything. Merely presenting various possibilities and debunking fake certainties.

      • Ian

        Initially, RT and RT UK (You Tube channels) uploaded a few “sneak previews” of the interview with the two guys. They had very bad English voice overs. They were rather awkward. Then some time later, a much better, complete version of the interview, with English subtitles rather than those terrible English voice overs, was uploaded to RT. It was viewable for about 30 minutes, then it was deleted from the RT channel. saying it violated You Tubes terms of agreement! I thought that was pretty strange.

      • James Clarke19

        So you don’t have an inclination to debunk this twaddle? Says it all when you are unwilling not to have a go at an open goal.

      • MJ

        Talking of debunking fake certainties, I have to wonder why our security services seem so cerain that the men are members of the GRU. If this is the case (I’m not saying it’s not) then I wonder how long our chaps have known this. If it was since before March 3rd then it seems inconceivable to me that they were not stopped on arrival at Gatwick and thoroughly interrogated and searched before being allowed to proceed. Even if they somehow slipped through the net then they would surely have been apprehended before taking their flight home.

      • Elena B.

        If I may, Boshirov does have an accent that would prompt that he either comes from the south of Russia or in fact Ukraine.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Ukrainians is the accepted spelling and why shouldn’t Ukrainians have Russian passports – there are after all 4-5 Ukrainians taking refuge in Russia. There are Moldovans and Estonians with Russian passports just as there are Irish with British ones

  • Republicofscotland

    Right then, I’ve just watched the whole interview of the two Russian’s suspected of carrying out the Skripal affair, and in my opinion, those men are not telling the whole truth.

    Firstly the two men, claimed they were going to on a site seeing tour of Salisbury suggested to them by their friends. However they claimed they stayed in Salisbury for just an hour, and headed back to London. One of the men then said we planned to visit London first, they seemed a bit sketchy on where they wanted to visit first.

    Secondly, they both claimed they’d never heard of the Skripal case, until the commotion surrounding their lives took hold. Yet when asked in a prior question did they go to the Skripals house, both said they didn’t know where the house was.

    Thirdly British security services said that the men visited Switzerland on a regular basis, both men denied this, but they knew exactly the quickest way to get to a specific city in Switzerland from France.

    Both men were very cagey on devolving any information surrounding their business activities. Which I’m sure under the circumstances would’ve helped absolve them to a certain extent, unless its a front.
    Both men who travel prolifically due to their business interests, must’ve seen their faces in the international media yet they took their time in coming forward to clear their names why?

    Finally both men are now playing the victims card claiming a bounty is on their heads. In my opinion, both men are not what they claim to be.

    • Bill Rollinson

      “They seemed sketchy on were they wanted to go first”?
      Have you never contradicted a friend? Especially over the order of where to go first. They explained the short stay, the weather!

      “Secondly, they both claimed they’d never heard of the Skripal case, until the commotion surrounding their lives took hold. Yet when asked in a prior question did they go to the Skripals house, both said they didn’t know where the house was.”

      It’s correct to state they knew of Skripals after seeing the commotion in the media, it’s also correct to say they didn’t know where their house was, because when that question was asked, they did know who the Skripals were.
      Questions asked in wrong order………to deliberately confuse?

    • Londonbob

      Actually they said they had never heard of the Skripals before this all started, neither had I or almost the entire population of the world, would be weird if they had.

    • Tom Welsh

      Reading these comments, it seems to me that we have a hell of a lot of amateur Perry Masons among us. Most of whom took up prosecuting about 5 minutes ago.

      Most normal people, perfectly innocent of any serious crime, look dodgy from some point of view and under a certain light. Have you never heard the principle – which of course is never mentioned in CSI or NCIS – that possession of a strong alibi is suspicious in itself? Ordinary decent people quite often have no alibi: they don’t expect to need one.

      Moreover, as we in the West have been finding out more and more often, the authorities are now very experienced at fitting up anyone they choose. Reminiscent of 17-century France, where Cardinal Richelieu cheerily remarked, “If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged”.

      No doubt the same could be said of a brief, spur-of-the-moment holiday taken by the most honest two men.

  • Jack

    Transcript of the whole interview:

    They do give a nervous appearance, even RT doubt their story:

    “They demanded that only one camera run during the interview and refused to show their IDs. But in the end a second camera was present, filming Simonyan asking the questions. They said they would not go to the studio and only agreed to do the interview in her “office.”

    • N_

      Where in Russia do they live? Presumably Margarita Simonyan doesn’t have dozens of offices all across that vast country.

      • Paul Greenwood

        VK is social media in Russia……..we know Daily Telegraph has offices on every street corner in UK

      • Jack


        “Russia Today” is quite popular inside Russia so I guess its not that hard to find an office for this company, atleast in western Russia.

    • Radio Jammor

      On what little we know, yes. But that road is a route to Wilton House. No one has directly asked them what they were doing on that road. It doesn’t appear to me that the main or only purpose of their visit to the UK was to visit Salisbury for the Cathedral or Stonehenge. Bow is near the Olympic village but central enough to get to central London with ease.

      My point is that they may have tried to pack-in other sights to see on their weekend and it is an assumption that only Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral held their interest. With the concentration of questions over Salisbury and the Skripals

      I find it highly improbable that these two came to Salisbury just to put a nerve agent on the door of Skripal, making a three hour journey to do so, and in broad daylight, on the off-chance of not being seen, not least by Skripal himself.

      Put it another way: wouldn’t you rather have been close at hand, watching, seeing when Skripal came and went, or – as was initially assumed – it was done under the cover of darkness?

      This timeline makes little sense other than coincidence. And the UK is also effectively stating it covered up the discovery of Novichok at their hotel (which handily was so small, they could barely detect it and would have posed no threat) for about four months.

      • uncle tungsten

        Thanks Radio Jammor, I think the tiny sample found in the hotel room was a false positive test as it could not be replicated. Perhaps residue of insecticide can give false positives. Hotel rooms are heavily treated to keep human borne parasites to a minimum. That report alone indicates how easy it is for the science we have to be less than reliable in these circumstances and so easily exploited by the ‘prosecution’.

        And thank you to our host, Craig, for maintaining the dialogue even in the face of sh!tty underminers.

  • ZigZag Wanderer

    The snow situation was very odd that weekend here in Wiltshire. Due to the strong winds that prevailed throughout the snowfalls the roads would have deep snow on them however the fields either side would have virtually none.
    This was caused by the hedges and fences either side of the road acting as traps for the drifting snow. In my own village the roads still had deep snow on them and the land either side was literally green.

  • Node

    They claim they visited Salisbury twice, on successive days. Also that they took photos inside Salisbury cathedral. Also that they spent about an hour in Salisbury railway station cafe. These claims are easily checkable, and if true, create yet more problems for the UK government narrative.

    • Jo

      Stonehenge and Sarum shut too……can anyone check if say minibus tours operated at this times from the station for example?

      • Ian

        Its not a minibus, its a regular sized bus with a hefty fare price but that fare is peanuts compared to a 3,500 mile round trip for a weekend in late winter.
        The bus operated on the Sunday, I contacted English Heritage and they confirmed that on Saturday the service did not operate, on Sunday it did. The reason I checked is so that I could come back here and ridicule Craig Murrays piece with its glaring omissions.
        He snipped off the next tweet from the Stonehenge account, the one that states ”
        Stonehenge Verified account @EH_Stonehenge Mar 4
        We’re looking forward to giving all our visitors a warm welcome to Stonehenge today. We’re open until 5pm with last tickets at 3pm”.
        That tweet was the very next tweet after the one Craig put up here, a tweet from Sunday the 4th, the very same Sunday that our unfortunate tourists were still in the area. How that fact is not mentioned in Craigs piece is somewhat indicative of Craig Murrays style. Just use the evidence that suits you, a smorgasbord of make it up as you go along and the conspiracy theorists will lap it up. Craig makes money from his books as do many scribes and radio jocks who court the attention of conspiracy theorists. On the top right of his page we see advertisements for Craigs books.

  • Colin Davis

    I think the Russians’ story is as rum as hell, and I wouldn’t be inclined – with Craig – to go into all the ‘snow blocked the roads’ stuff. But the ‘novichok and doorknocker’ story is also rum as hell, as is the Putin inspired assassination of the Skripals. More will emerge, but those Russians come into it somewhere is my reading. My advice (which no one has asked for) is don’t rush to judgement on this, and certainly not to judgement in favour of T May and the UK secret services.

    • James Clarke19

      I think you mean doorhandle? Have you forgotten about all the souyrces confirming the existence of contact nerve agents. Try google then open your mouth.

  • Adrian Kent

    Sight-seers would, you’d have thought, have a lot of photos of their own to show to prove their story.

    Until they provide them then their story seems rather dubious, but still very much more plausible than the delayed-action OP nerve agent one from the UK Government.

    • Richard D

      Give them time. It’s not an easy business faking up photos in such a way that the surroundings match what is known about the weather, time of day, cloud cover, snow on the ground, etc..

    • John A

      “Until they provide them then their story seems rather dubious”

      Actually, the rule is ‘innocent until proven guilty’. It is up to May and the baying crowd to prove they are guilty, not for them to ‘prove’ they are innocent.

      • Adrian Kent

        @John A – I entirely agree, they are almost certainly innocent of the UK charges – and the new UK time-line has essentially exonerated them of the alleged crime for the reason I mentioned in my post. The door-handle story is utter bollocks – the Skripals would have felt ill quite rapidly and definitely not collapsed simultaneously 4 hours later having been symptom-free in the meantime.

        I’m just saying that their story is bizarre.

  • James Clarke19

    So glad the Two Russians shared their holiday photo’s during the RT interview. Presumably taking photo’s of walls of snow isn’t something Russians want to do along with photos of the destination they’d fought their way to. Nice try Craig, you are as unconvincing as they are. What would convince you that they are the perpetrators of a failed chemical weapons attack?

    • Doodlebug

      “What would convince you that they are the perpetrators of a failed chemical weapons attack?”



      Some evidence would be good.

      Or even some cctv of the skripals in Salisbury.

      Or an explanation of how the skripals gave boys bread to feed ducks with half an hour after leaving home, but those boys not being dead.

      Why Freya church said the couple in the cctv, the people of interest, were at the bench when she got there, but nobody can find them.

      Or even just a description from the police of what the skripals were wearing that day.

      You know, simple facts to prove its not bollocks.

    • uncle tungsten

      Oh thank YOU JC19: Evidence would be nice but let me list some helpful items:
      all cctv in high resolution held by the state released to the public, timestamps intact.
      cctv from the duck pond, Mill pub, the bench, the Cathedral
      public tv interviews with Julia and Sergei so we can have a confirmation of their existence at least,
      ditto DS Bailey,
      ditto Ross Cassidy

      Craig at least is endeavouring to publish this material, your assistance would be appreciated.

  • Joe Kelly

    Interesting article – but I can’t agree with your opening that the interview was unconvincing. I was immediately convinced. It answers shes some basic questions. Who are they? What do they do? What were they doing Salisbury? What they had or did not have in their possession? They do not have to prove their innocence. It is up to those pressing charges to prove that they aren’t. Also, their very emergence in public is itself a sensational blow to May’s narrative, which clearly rested on the assumption that they would disappear into the woods as soon as their pictures appeared.

  • Steve Hayes

    The official narrative did not include the Skripals returning to Sergei’s house. The Met’s timeline was blank between 9:15 and 13:30. The claim that the Skripals must have returned is nothing more that ex post facto rationalisation: ie, making stuff up.

    • BushveldJock

      Sergei’s car was CCTVed in india Avenue (200 metres from Christie Miller Rd) circa 13.30. It was heading towards the town centre. If they never returned home, how did it get there?

      The idea that the early morning CCTV footage only shows the Skripals heading east (Away from home. Towards the cemetery) is baseless. When did anyone involved the investigation ever say this?

    • John A

      According to the Skripal cousin in Russia, Pa Skrypal had a cctv system installed at the house. Surely footage of anyone approaching the front door has been found by the police by now? Particularly as the alleged perps must have smeared the door handle in broad daylight.

  • DeepBlue

    Craig, here is an alternative explanation, based on the Trump dodgy dossier written by Skripal: Borishov and Petrov from the GRU were sent by Moscow to seek out Skripal, but not to eliminate him. Their mission was to persuade him to go public with the fact that he wrote the dossier and that it was all made up. (The rationale being that this would boost Trump and lead to further detente…). MI6/CIA got wind of this mission at an early stage and flipped it with the mother of all frame-up operations, suiting perfectly the Deep State agenda.
    This narrative explains just about everything – any thoughts?

    • Antonyl

      Good scenario on the surface but why would the G(R)U send two Russian men on Russian passports for such a delicate mission – Trump being accused of Putin’s help?

    • Dungroanin

      The Tank Regiment that is the can of worms of the manufacturers of narratives, false flags and consent for war and profits.

      I won’t repost the comment that is the collection of evidence to prove my statement on the previous story. It hasn’t been modded. Please read and make up your own minds.


      A poor explanation.

      Skripal visited London, the Russian embassy, and Eastern Europe.

      All far better places to say come home and spill the beans comrade.

      But his targeting was about the steele dossier.

    • Jo

      To my mind now( I had previously wondered if they were set up as some kind of training exercise)….especially as uk media is saying two russians came to Salisbury so it must have been them wot done it and even rhough from Siberia they could not cope with the snow….hows about devious persons knew they were coming cos don’t you have to put on the visa application your travel plans which must have been done earlier-when?-giving devious persons sufficient time to set them up as patsies and do the poisening…….any scan records of their luggage in Moscow?????? Is luggage scanned automatically on arrival too?

    • Tom Welsh

      Like a large proportion of the suggestions made in these comments, it looks nice and would be an excellent start for a TV series.

      The only problem is that there seems to be no evidence to support it.

  • ian

    Initially, RT and RT UK (You Tube channels) uploaded a few “sneak previews” of the interview with the two guys. They had very bad English voice overs. Then some time later, a much better, complete version of the interview, with subtitles rather than those terrible English voice overs, was uploaded to RT. It was viewable for about 30 minutes, then it was deleted from the RT channel. saying it violated You Tubes terms of agreement! I thought that was pretty strange.

  • Richard D

    Don’t you think it’s a bit weird how Boshirov and Petrov first walked along Wilton Road in the opposite direction to the cathedral, despite the spire of the cathedral being clearly visible from the railway station?

    • lokyc

      My recollection is a bit hazy as it was summer 2017. But I remember its not altogether that easy from the City centre (i drove) as you can only access the cathedral compound from two directions. You can’t always see the spire so I won’t be surprised if one goes in the wrong direction for a bit. Also let’s not forget they are tourists.

      • Richard D

        They were walking to the cathedral, not driving. They had line of sight to it as soon as they exited the railway station.

        • Jo

          They said they have photos of the cathedral. I would have gone inside though and savoured the atmosphere etc etc….they did not say they had not….

          • Borncynical

            Also they did say that they were at the cathedral for a while and that there must be a lot of CCTV footage of them there. They asked rhetorically why no CCTV images of them there had been released. If true, a very good question. I wonder who, if anyone, may still have copies of such CCTV recordings from that day – unfortunately we’ll probably (conveniently) be told that it’s been wiped, or that the cameras there weren’t operating, or were faulty because of the weather…etc etc.

      • Dustybin

        I have been there too, on foot and in better weather. I found myself wandering away from the cathedral just by accident. A while later I saw my mistake and retraced my steps.

        If I were wandering around in Russia with no sense of the layout and poor to zero ability to read clues in signs I know i would get well lost. Actually, I have been to Russia before I could read Cyrillic and done just that. Of course that’s actually part of the pleasure of visiting unknown places. 😉

        • Ian

          The cathedral is very clearly visible from their arrival point. There is a taxi rank at Salisbury station as you might expect at a tourist destination railway station. Also they would have been delighted when they returned on Sunday to find the Stonehenge Tour Bus operating from the station, they could have visited Stonehenge as well as the cathedral before having to head back to their business interests.
          Oh, and bad weather aside the cathedral is 123 metres in height, the weather was not the best but it wasn’t a fog you know?

    • Richard D

      (And I’m sure it’s a complete coincidence, but their initial direction that took them away from the cathedral, also took them towards the Skripals’ house.)

    • Elly

      How do you explain the fact the Skripals survived a deadly nerve agent of high purity? Why didn’t they notice the strange goop on the door nob? Does any of it make any sense to you? Why aren’y you applying the same criteria to the official narrative?

  • Max Venquist

    After reading through the full transcript posted on RT here:, my inclination is to believe these men are a gay couple traumatized at being outed considering the society they live in. The profile Theresa May would have us believe, about them being GRU agents, is implausible. What is evident, is her rush to demonize Russia. “If it does fit, you must acquit.”

    These chaps are remarkedly nervous about questions that are suggestive about their sexuality which would fit into why they are secretive considering how homophobic Russian society is at large.

    • Jo

      But no photos of them holding hands and more etc despite as they said sooo many cctv cameras every where Salizbury …Oxford street….I am still wondering what they did for dinner both Friday and Saturday night after being out in the cold …

    • Jo

      Yup we have no proof of Fantaka’s allegations either….yet so many people seem to.ha e i stantly accepted it….who can forensically check that out?

  • Ry

    A question that remains for me (if the two were going to poison the Skripals) is: When did they book their flights, and when did Yulia book her flight?

    We’ll assume that if a deliberate attempt to poison them was made, Yulia was at least as much a target as Sergei (otherwise, it’s a rather remarkable coincidence that this took place just as she arrived, rather than at any other time and via any other method when Sergei was alone in Salisbury).

    If that’s the case, whoever wanted to follow Yulia to the UK would have had to know when she had booked her flights. ie, Yulia would have had to book her flights before the alleged GRU guys. Other giveaway dates that would be useful to know for would-be assassins would be visa application dates. How long was Yulia planning to stay in the UK? If she was followed to the UK from Russia, these seem like potentially important questions.

    I’ve never been able to shake the feeling that Yulia, rather than Sergei, was the target or has more to do with this than has been explored.

    • Jo

      Good points…there is just something so strange or synchronous that it must be at Salisbury……an “englishmans home is his castle ” maximum fear and outrage meme…..? How ironic Skripal is a Russian traitor but uk permit to remain and UK passport as an escapee from a murderous regime accused guilty of at least 14 assassinations in UK accordin to BJ….something very very rotten is going on……

  • Richard D

    There’s no problem with the timeline. The Skriprals touched their door handle some time between noon and 1.15pm.

    The novichok being degraded by time was just one of many possible explanations for the non-fatal poisoning of the Skripals, and that was during the initial few days when no-one was sure what happened. There are many other reasons for the Skripals not dying, in particular that they didn’t receive a large enough dose, and they received first-rate medical attention.

    You keep calling the door handle a “doorknob”, but in fact it is a lever-type handle. The reason this is important is that it’s perfectly possible that the Skripals had their hands full when they arrived back, and they might have pushed the lever with an elbow or other (clothed) limb, something I’m sure we’ve all done when encumbered.

    • Elly

      How do you explain the high concentration and high purity of the Novichok in the victims’ blood weeks after the poisoning according to OPCW reports?
      So, it degraded and they survived, but still had high concentrations of non-metabolised toxin in their blood weeks after the event?

      • Richard D

        I don’t think you read what I wrote. The poison probably didn’t significantly degrade in the hour or so between it being administered and the victims touching it.

    • Ray

      Maybe the Skripal’s could conform this by being interviewed in a similar manner to Borishov and Petrov.

      Many of the unanswered questions could easily be put to bed through such an interview.

      Will we get such an interview, highly unlikely.

      • Richard D

        They may not remember a whole lot from that day, given the state they were in. Charlie Rowley said that it messed with his memory that day. Anyway, if I were the Skripals, I would definitely lay low too. What’s in it for them to expose themselves to a country that his bent on killing him, and an army of trolls who will trash him whatever he says?

        • Borncynical

          “What’s in it for them to expose themselves to a country that is bent on killing him, and an army of trolls who will trash him whatever he says?” Now there is a superb example of an ironic juxtaposition if ever there were.

        • Tom Welsh

          I find it remarkable that everything you write seems so exactly what a paid member of the UK armed forces or intelligence services (for example) would come up with in order to confuse and obfuscate this thread.

          Just saying. After all, we know that such people are paid (with our taxes) to do exactly that.

  • Londonbob

    I actually think they are homosexuals, hence sharing a room and going back to London. Salisbury is close to London from a Russian perspective, and many tourists go there.

    • Londonbob

      Besides they still left two hours before the Skripals fell ill. Rather like Litvinenko fell ill at Itsu with Scaramella and Itsu dowsed in polonium, many months later polonium supposedly turned up in teapot at the hotel Litvinenko met the Russians in hours after Itsu.

  • Jones

    i’d have thought experienced GRU would have been far more composed (trained in interrogation methods) nervousness seemed genuine, Boshirov seemed more nervous than Petrov, Boshirov overly concerned that two men sharing hotel room seems unusual (possible worry about gay issues, family finding out he is gay etc), cathedral & coffee shop visit easily proved/disproved by UK police through CCTV, my one question is why did they first walk west out of train station when cathedral is south-east of train station, only thing west seems to be police station law courts and skripal house. If they are lying on any point that neither proves nor disproves guilt. Facts still few. Body language, they way Petrov glances to Boshirov sugggests to me Petrov ‘may’ know than Boshirov or may simply be more comfortable with being thought of as gay. Fair point about men carrying womens perfume aftershave would be less suspicious. Accusing interviewer of interrogating is perhaps not something a guilty person would do but perhaps something a worried person would do. Just my thoughts.

  • TJ

    Boshirov says the Police must have images of them at Salisbury Cathedral. The question is if this is true, why have the pictures not been seen or even mentioned, it would change the timeline that has been put forward by the Police. A quick look on Google Street View shows there is CCTV at Salisbury Cathedral-,-1.7975142,3a,27.2y,149.9h,93.23t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1sAF1QipPTRzQNpHtDXwTSz_vP4WzD47hTtrFMtM5pUlH4!2e10!3e11!!7i7168!8i3584

    If HMG has nothing to hide can we see all the CCTV from that day and any video or pictures captured by GCHQ or NSA from the area?

  • Jenny C

    According to many Russian language sources (Fontanka, Meduza and others) the two ‘tourists’ had booked and paid for seats on two separate Aeroflot flights out of London. One flight leaving on the evening of the 4th and one on the 5th. I don’t usually do that when I go away on a mini-break (Hmm, I think I’ll go to the expense of booking myself onto TWO flights, just in case I miss the first one). Perhaps I’m the exception and these two are the rule……..

  • Node

    Based on the transcript* I find their explanation quite plausible. They are a bit shifty about their business travels but so would I be under those circumstances (for example I am aware of people whose claims of business trips to India wouldn’t stand up to close scrutiny by the tax man). I imagine most creative self-employed people would sweat if a spotlight was suddenly and unexpectedly shone on their business dealings.

    *which of course excludes body language and nuances of expression.

    • copydude

      Nothing implausible about visiting Salisbury. From Spire FM:

      ‘The number of people going to the stone circle has gone up in the last year, making it one of the UK’s most popular attractions. More people than ever before are visiting Stonehenge it seems – making it one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions.

      1,381,855 people visited our stone circle during 2016, which is up 1.1% on the previous year.

      That makes it the 7th most visited paid for attraction in the UK, with more tourists than places like London Zoo, the Eden Project and the Houses of Parliament.’

      Fairly brisk footfall at the Cathedral too.

      ‘Bell Tower Tearooms operated for its first full year and served over 38,000 visitors, usefully complementing the offer of the Cathedral Refectory.’

      There are over 30 million foreign visitors to the UK each year.

      • Doodlebug


        I dare say this entire episode will pay off for Wiltshire tourism in the long run. London has a ‘Jack the Ripper’ tour. Salisbury should perhaps inaugurate a ‘sight of attempted assassination’ monument – blue plaque on a nearby wall and all that. (“I shouldn’t sit there missus if I were you”, says the jocular guide).

  • Mary Paul

    Well my view is that they were/are couriers. I thought it was interesting that, when describing why and where they moved through the entry corridors at Gatwick, the wording used suggests they travel abroad together often and have a standard approach to customs. We were told, when their identities and tv footage was released, that they regularly visited Geneva and other European cities (although I do not have the reference to hand.) Were they travelling on a visa or more regular-use passports. Do they speak English?

    Why didn’t they look up the weather in Salisbury in early March before they left and bring some warm clothing? Why would they stay overnight in London? Why not stay in Salisbury instead of wasting money on train fares? Is their any footage of them in the cathedral? Is is perhaps possible they were required to be decoys from the real assassin and so were meant to put themselves about visibly in Salisbury?.

    Is it a coincidence there was a big troop exercise going on locally near Salisbury at the time? Plus of course are those their real names? Who does the British government believe them to be ?And were there really traces of a Novichok agent in their bedroom?

    • copydude

      Mary Paul wrote:

      ‘.Well my view is that they were/are couriers.’

      Why can’t Russians be normal people? My friend visits the UK a couple of times a year. She has visited places as untouristy as Southend and Bishop Auckland. (How suspicious is that!)

      Who checks the weather to visit UK? It will be raining, end of.

      Do you honestly believe the British Government stamps fake passports of people with fake names with a visa?

  • Frank Parker

    I speak as someone who doesn’t believe the government story in the slightest, but I must admit what I don’t understand is why these two men would travel together. What are they friends? lovers? Do they have wives and children?

    Guys don’t generally go travelling with one other guy unless it’s a lads’ holiday, which this clearly wasn’t.

    • Jack

      There are sure many inconsistencies

      * There nervousness during the interview – on the other hand who wouldnt? They look quite scared, if you worked for intelligence services you sure wouldnt be scared since you have the all the protection you need, or is it a scheme?
      * They travel for 2,3 days to a quite unknown tourist related city from Russia?
      * They have multiple shoes, jackets, clothing set up during this short time of vacation?
      * They refuse to show ID to RT
      * They refuse to tell us what they work with or what the real purpose of the trip were, RT wondering if they are a gay-couple..

      Apparently their face are all over in Russia, how come no one have really step forward either to russian media or international and tipped them off who they really are? If my face were put out in the media all over the world, police would have no trouble finding people that could tell them what my name is. But now in Russia with 150 million people, there hasnt been any big leak on theese people are?
      Even if they work in lets say intelligence services there must be alot of people recognize them before they joined and could name them.

      Bottom line, the RT interview doesnt seems to be a set up by Putin etc that some people would of course claim, frankly RT seems as puzzled as anyone else.
      Who are they? One assumptions I have is that these people belong to some criminal network or acting on behalf on this or that criminal group. That is, they are unrelated to Russian gov.

    • Jude D

      What an extremely weird comment. Loads of guys travel in couples all the time. Single guys, divorced guys, separated guys, widowed guys, and even married or shacked up with partner guys. I don’t know what the situation in Russia is, but in countries like the UK single occupant households are extremely common and getting more common all the time. In this environment such travel patterns are the norm for the unattached rather than the exception. Whenever I’m in Spain I always encounter (straight) guys and women from the UK on holidays together in twos – and usually around the age of the two Russians concerned.

      • Tom Welsh

        I think it’s just yet more English provincialism. People who think they are quite sophisticated, yet can’t begin to understand that other people in other places may have other customs.

        “Pardon him, Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature”.

        – Caesar (referring to Britannus), in “Caesar and Cleopatra”, Act II, by George Bernard Shaw

    • James Clarke19

      The paragraph that says its worthy of a visit but not worthy of taking any photographs of is particularly inspiring.

      • Tom Welsh

        The habit of compulsively taking photographs of everything is another weird (and recent) Western thing. If you want photographs, you can find excellent ones to buy or to see free of charge, on the Web, in books and museums and magazines and postcards…

        If you go to the trouble of visiting a place, why not give it your whole attention and drink in the experience? Instead of fiddling around with your gadgets and barely noticing the surroundings.

    • Jack


      Look at that, I just claimed in a comment above that Salisbury was not a tourist city. I was wrong apparently.
      At the same time, when one of the guys start talking about this being a tourst trip, it doesnt sounds too convincing, almost like he read from..Lonely planet’s description of the city.

          • Jo

            But sometimes at passport control you are asked questions what are your travel plans etc….so they would have boned up this info ready to answer in their russian accents….considering tne russophobia at this time…..

  • Kempe

    If they were tourists why the lightning short visit and if they were interested in Salisbury why didn’t they take accommodation there? They could’ve got a better deal than in London. Why did they spend such little time in Salisbury and why is neither of them sporting a camera?

    • Jack


      In the transcript, (see rt link above) they said that they took pictures, RT asked if they could see them and they pretty much responded ‘perhaps’.

        • Kempe

          Phones or cameras you expect at least one of them to be carrying one at the ready. Most people with smart phones seem unable to take their eyes off them and why so coy about the images?

          • Clark

            Well they might have had their tablet ‘phones with them at the RT interview, and if photos from Salisbury were right next to pictures from the alleged orgy in the London hotel room, they might have felt under the spotlight, in case they were asked to show them there and then. After all, Putin himself had publicly asked them to come forward.

            Come to think of it, another orgy might have been why they went back to London.

            What I want to know is why one of them was so adamant that they always went through the same gate at airports, when they obviously used different ones. Weird, because how they went through the gates makes no difference to anything.

      • Tom Welsh

        “Did they not want to see Oxford Street too?”

        God, no. Not if they have any taste, or if they prefer to avoid being choked by massive pollution.

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