Russian Federation says Skripal poisoning suspects are 'civilians'

Putin says Russia has found men accused by UK over poisoning

Vladimir Putin said that his government has located the two Russian men the United Kingdom accused of poisoning a former Russian spy in England, and there is "nothing criminal" about them.

"We know who they are, we have found them", Mr Putin told an economic forum in the presence of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the far eastern city of Vladivostok.

We know who they are, we found them.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who were formally accused of attempting to murder former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, are seen in an image handed out by the Metropolitan Police in London, Britain September 5, 2018.

Putin urged the two men to speak to the journalists.

He said the government had exposed them as GRU operatives - and that is what they are. There is nothing special or criminal there.

"When one country's prime minister accuses the leaders of another country of preparing a terrorist attack, from this point we can not proceed anywhere", he added.

Britain last week charged two alleged agents of Russia's military intelligence agency in absentia with the nerve agent poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury.

Skripal, 66, a former Russian intelligence colonel who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain's MI6 foreign intelligence service, and his 33-year-old daughter were found unconscious on a park bench about four hours after the poison was planted.




The British government has said Putin is ultimately responsible for the attack, a claim the Kremlin has furiously denied.

Russian Federation has consistently denied any role in either incident.

Theresa May told parliament earlier this month that the attack "was nearly certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state".

"We have repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury in March and they have replied with obfuscation and lies".

The Russian president noted that the "suspects" were civilians.

Ms Sturgess died in hospital on 8 July.

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has warned the men, thought to be aged about 40, will be caught and prosecuted if they ever step out of Russian Federation.

British prosecutors issued a warrant for the suspects' arrest last week.

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