VLADIMIR Putin’s maniplutive regime has failed to convince the Russian public with barefaced lies peddled by the suspected Salisbury assassins.
Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Bochirov were interviewed by Kremlin-backed channel RT in a toe-curling chat which the UK government has branded “obfuscation and lies.”
The pair of suspected GRU spies claimed they visited Wiltshire as tourists interested in the gothic Salisbury cathedral.
Yet their account appeared to have been “copy and pasted” from Wikipedia with one talking about the church’s “123-metre spire” and its clock.
But the British public aren’t the only ones baffled and amused by their brazen lies as Russian social media users have posted memes poking fun at the hapless duo.
One cartoon shows a pair of men dragging a Soviet statue towards the cathedral while one says: “Let’s go and measure out spires.”
Asked by the pair spent such a short amount of time in the town, they told RT interviewer Margarita Simonyan they had left early because of snow on the ground.
Another cartoon shows the pair wading through snow which is above their waists towards a sign pointing to the church.
One character says: “Let’s forget it? Maybe we won’t go to this cathedral?”
A third meme shows the men standing at Salisbury train station while the Queen peers through her curtains at her home.
Even normally pro-Vladimir Putin media outlets could not hide their doubts over Petrov and Bochirov.
Business daily Vedomosti said: “There is an interview, but no information. They had failed to prove they were not GRU agents.”
Moscokovsky Komsomolets blasted their “evasive answers”.
The article read: “The situation has not become clearer and the story of ‘the tourists who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, whom the British present as poisoners to stir up anti-Russia hysteria’ does not fall into place.”
Independent Novaya Gazette asked: “Why did the Kremlin agree to such nonsense?”
Criminal profiler Ilya Anischenko claimed RT had edited their interview to protect the pair but said they showed “signs of lying”.
He also alleged the pair had been tutored before giving their interview – however the preparation had failed to hide the holes in their account.
“In my opinion, the answer to the question about Novichok was edited,” he told newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets.
He said: “I was puzzled when they did not say what exactly they were doing in Salisbury.
“They ignored the request to show photographs from there.
“They simply did not react at all to this question. This is strange.”
Anischenko said it was clear the pair are “hiding something”.
Grigory Semchyuk, a specialist in visual psychological diagnostics and body language, said Petrov was clearly a “silovik” – meaning a secret serviceman.
He was “determined, active, a very strong guy.”
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MBKh Media said of the RT interview: “Most likely, we have looked into the eyes of the murderers whom smiling Margarita Simonyan helped to get out of an unpleasant situation as much as she could.”
One leading journalist Oleg Kashin said the world was “laughing” at the stunt which highlighted Russia’s guilt in poisoning the Skripals.
Another, Sergey Dorenko, chief editor of Govorit Moskva radio station, said he felt “ashamed”.