The Kremlin on Friday said it was “absurd” for Britain to dismiss as unconvincing an interview with two suspects in the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal on British soil.
The comments came a day after Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshir denied any involvement in the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury in March, telling Russian state TV they had visited as tourists.
British security services had named the two men as main suspects in the case.
“Accusing Russia of lying after the declarations of two Russian citizens is... absurd,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“These are ordinary citizens. They have nothing to do with the Russian state,” Peskov said.
He added that he had not watched the interview himself and that he did not know whether President Vladimir Putin had but that it was “hardly likely” he had seen it in full.
The Kremlin responded after Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said the interview contained “lies and blatant fabrications” and called it “an insult to the public’s intelligence.”
Peskov said that the Russian government’s position on the case has not changed and “we consider unacceptable any associations between the Russian leadership and the Russian state and what happened in Salisbury”.
He declined to confirm whether Russia would allow British police to question the suspects if such a request were made.
The men “have not broken any laws in Russia and we don’t know officially that they have broken laws anywhere else in the world,” the Kremlin spokesman said.