The two Russians accused by the UK of poisoning former spy Sergei Skripal with a nerve agent in Salisbury took to state television on Thursday to deny any involvement in the attack.
Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov told RT, they and had nothing to do with the poisoning.
The extraordinary public defence suggested a possible change of tack after Russia spent months publicly ridiculing the UK’s accusations.
Boshirov and Petrov said that their lives had “been turned upside down” since UK prime minister Theresa May released CCTV footage of them visiting Salisbury at the time of the poisoning in March.
Looking nervous throughout the 25-minute interview, the men said the footage was genuine but had been used to portray an “innocent” sightseeing trip as a mission to poison Mr Skripal.
FT reports RT editor Margarita Simonyan said the men called her on Wednesday, hours after Russian president Vladimir Putin suggested they speak to the media, to offer an interview. Ms Simonyan said they would only meet her alone in a secluded location with one camera present.