UK repeats assertion that Russia is lying

MOSCOW (AP) — The British government has repeated its assertion that Russian authorities were lying about the poisoning of a Russian former spy in the English city of Salisbury.

Britain last week charged two Russians in absentia, alleging they were agents of Russia’s military intelligence agency who were dispatched to Salisbury to poison former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with the nerve agent Novichok on March 4.

“The government is clear these men are officers of the Russian military intelligence service – the GRU – who used a devastatingly toxic, illegal chemical weapon on the streets of our country,” officials said in a statement Thursday.

“We have repeatedly asked Russia to account for what happened in Salisbury in March. Today – just as we have seen throughout – they have responded with obfuscation and lies.”

The two suspects appeared on Russian television on Thursday for the first time. They denied their involvement in the attack, saying their appearance in Salisbury in March was merely a coincidence and that they were there merely as tourists.