Russian Media Suggests Novichok Suspects Are Gay Tourists

News outlets are suggesting the pair wanted in connection with the Novichok poisoning were lovers, not spies.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Bochirov being interviewed in connection with the Novichok poisoning.
Image: Russia Today

A number of Russian news outlets have speculated over the sexuality of the two men wanted in connection with the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia in Salisbury in March. Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who are believed by Britain to be officers of the Russian military intelligence service – the GRU – are suspects in the Novichok poisoning attack on the former Russian military officer and double agent in March earlier this year. The father and daughter were hospitalised, along with Detective Sergent Nick Bailey following the nerve agent attack.

Novichok was found in the hotel rooms of Petrov and Boshirov who claimed they were on holidays in Salisbury.

Speculation over their sexuality began to spread after Russia Today, the state-sponsored broadcaster, released an interview with Petrov and Boshirov. They were asked: “On the (CCTV) video you are shown always together. You were together, lived together, walked everywhere together. What does, in fact, connect you?”

To this, Boshirov replied: “Let’s not pry into our private lives.”

The men were interviewed by the head of Russia Today, Margarita Simonyan. She said: “I do not know if they are gays or not. They are quite fashionable – with little beards, haircuts, tight pants, sweaters tight over biceps.”

As further evidence of their sexuality, Simonyan added that the men did not sexually harass her, though this may be because she is “already out of the harrassable age.”

Sergei Skirpal and his daughter Julia who were poisoned in a Novichok attack in March 2018.
Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia were poisoned in a Novichok attack in March 2018.

Another news-source, Mash, published a poll asking readers whether the duo were “agents made to be gays, or gays made to be agents”.

In the RT interview, Petrov and Boshirov claimed to have been tourists, eager to visit Salisbury, and that if they passed the home of Skripal it was purely by accident: “Our friends have been telling us for some time we should visit this extraordinary town. (….) Maybe we did (approach) Skripal’s house, but we don’t know where it was located.”

PM Theresa May has called the pair’s tourist claims “lies and blatant fabrication”, while Salisbury MP John Glen tweeted: “Delighted that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were able to see the world-class attractions that Salisbury has to offer. But very strange to come all this way for just two days while carrying Novichok in their luggage.”

In response to the interview, a British spokesperson said: “The Government is clear that these men are officers of the Russian military intelligence service – the GRU – who used a devastating toxic, illegal chemical weapon on the streets of our country.

“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.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin maintained the innocence of the pair saying there is “nothing criminal” about Petrov and Boshirov.

© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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