A screengrab taken on September 13, 2018, from footage broadcast by Russia's state broadcaster Russia Today (RT), shows two men, purported to be Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov taking part in a television interview.
They said they did not work for GRU, were ordinary businessmen, and the victim of what they called "a fantastical coincidence".
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.
The men also denied that they had smuggled the Novichok nerve agent used to poison Skripal, and four other people, into Britain disguised as perfume.
We planned it in such way: we live in London and visit Salisbury.
When asked why they were in Salisbury, the men said: "Our friends had been suggesting for a long time we visit this wonderful town". After a brief pause, he added that the town is known for its cathedral, which is "famous not only in Europe, but in the whole world". "It's famous for its 123-meter spire, it's famous for its clock, the first one [of its kind] ever created in the world, which is still working", Petrov said.
"We arrived in Salisbury on March 3 and tried to walk through the town, but we lasted for only half an hour because it was covered in snow", Petrov said.
Asked what could persuade London of the pair's innocence, he responded: "I can't see anything which could really change the British government's attitude and its conviction that these two men were perpetrators, that they were the ones who brought Novichok into the country".
British Prime Minister Theresa May last week said the attack was "almost certainly" approved "at a senior level of the Russian state".
The UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) says there is enough evidence to convict the two men, although it is not applying to Russian Federation for their extradition because Russian Federation does not extradite its own nationals.
The editor in chief said both men had made direct contact with her and that she had not sought out the two personally. They then went straight to the airport and flew home, hours after the Skripals were found unconscious on a bench.
"But when we came there, even a plane...we thought it will not be landed on the first try, as the transport collapse took place in England on March 2,3, the snowstorm", Petrov said.
In the freakish 25-minute interview, the pair denied all knowledge of the plot and insisted they were just two men going on holiday to see the 123m steeple at Salisbury Cathedral. "Why would a man have perfume for women in his luggage?" "Maybe we did [approach] Skripal's house but we don't know where it's located". Closely resembling photographs of the suspects issued by United Kingdom police, the men also denied carrying Novichok in a women's perfume bottle.
British counterterrorism policing sources were understood to "stand by everything" they had said in naming two individuals from Russian Federation as being responsible for the March attack.
Two men suspected of targeting the Skripals with novichok have denied being Russian agents or having anything to do with the poisoning.
"I'm frightened, I'm scared".