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Theresa May has condemned the lies and “blatant fabrications” in the interview given by the two Russian men accused of perpetrating the Salisbury novichok attack.

The prime minister said the interview given to Russian state-sponsored television was offensive to the victims of the chemical weapons attack aimed at killing ex-spy Sergei Skripal.

It follows an interview with the Kremlin-funded RT network, in which the men denied they were Russian intelligence agents and rejected any knowledge of the toxic substance or assassination attempt, instead claiming they were in Salisbury to see the cathedral.

Ms May’s spokesman said: “The lies and blatant fabrications in this interview given to a Russian state-sponsored TV station are an insult to the public’s intelligence and more importantly they are deeply offensive to the victims and loved ones of this horrific attack.

“Sadly it’s what we’ve come to expect.”

Investigators released images of the two suspects, who have been charge with attempted murder, saying they arrived in Britain on genuine Russian passports in the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

Police said the pair travelled to Salisbury from on 3 March to carry out reconnaissance, then returned to launch the attack the following day and flew back to Moscow hours later. Novichok traces were found in their London hotel room.

Ms May’s spokesman went on: “An illegal chemical weapon has been used on the streets of this country, we have seen four people left seriously ill in hospital and an innocent woman has died. Russia has responded with contempt.

“The police have set out very clearly the evidence against these two men, they are wanted men and we are taking all steps to make sure they are apprehended and brought to justice in the UK if they ever again step outside of Russia.” Read more

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