The mother of the two Boston bombing suspects told reporters at a news conference Thursday that she will never accept the idea that her sons carried out the attacks that killed three people and injured more than 160 people.
Zubeidat Tsarnaev and her husband, Anzor, spoke after she met in Russia's Dagestan republic with FBI agents and U.S. Embassy officials about the Boston bombings. Her husband did not attend the interview, saying he was too ill to meet with the U.S. delegation.
Asked if her interview with U.S. officials had caused her to now accept her sons' involvement in the April 15 bombing, the emotional, and often tearful, mother said, "No, I don't. And I won't. Never."
Saying "America took my kids away from me," she said her family would have been better off in a village in Dagestan and that she regrets moving the family to the U.S. several years ago.
"You know, my kids would be with us, and we would be, like, fine," she said. "So, yes, I would prefer not to live in America now! Why did I even go there? Why? I thought America is going to, like, protect us, our kids, it's going to be safe."
Her 19-year-old son, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is in fair condition in a Boston hospital with wounds suffered in a shootout with police that left his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, dead.
The student at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth has answered some questions of U.S. investigators regarding the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. He has said that he and his brother acted alone in the attacks and without any help from anyone, foreign or domestic, according to a law enforcement official.
The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said Dzhokhar said he and his brother did not test fire the pressure-cooker devices before planting them near the crowded finish line of the race.
Zubeidat Tsarnaev told reporters that her sons were "very close, they loved each other."
Investigators are looking into whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who spent six months in Russia's Caucasus in 2012, was influenced by the religious extremists who have waged an insurgency against Russian security services in the area for years. The brothers have roots in Dagestan and neighboring Chechnya, but neither spent much time in either place before the family moved to the United States a decade ago.
Anzor Tsarnaev, the father, told reporters that he planned to leave for the United States on Thursday.
"I want to say that I am going there to see my son, to bury the older one. I don't have any bad intentions. I don't plan to blow up anything.
"I am not angry at anyone," he added, banging his hand against a table. "I want to go find out the truth."
Their mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, who was charged with shoplifting in the U.S. last summer, said she has been assured by lawyers that she would not be arrested, but said she was still deciding whether to go.
At the news conference, both rejected the notion that Tamerlan did not fit into U.S. society. Reporters quoted Tamerlan as once saying in an essay about his boxing experience that he did not have a single American friend.
"That is not true," the father said. "He had a lot of friends. I know these friends."
"It is not that he did not have friends," Zubeidat Tsarnaev added. "Friend, he meant like, real friend, the one he could share his life with, whatever is in his mind and life. Share. That is the frame. But all around, he was really nice. He never rejected anyone American just because they were American."