Vladimir Putin - Nothing criminal about suspects in Novichok nerve agent attack
01:52, Sep 13, 2018
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There is "nothing criminal" about the two men Britain suspects of carrying out the Skripal nerve agent attack in Salisbury, President Putin has said.
"We know who these people are, we have found them", Mr Putin said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestured as he addressed the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Wednesday.
"I hope they will turn up themselves and tell everything".
The UK government named them as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, and said they were from Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU.
Russian Federation has hotly contested the allegations that it is responsible for the attack, and on Wednesday Mr Putin escalated the war of words by denying the men were members of military intelligence, and that his officials "know who these people are".
Britain blames the Russian government for the March attack, a claim that Moscow has vehemently denied.
British police said the suspects, both about 40-years old, flew from Moscow to London on Russian passports two days before the Skripals were poisoned.
He added: 'There is nothing special and nothing criminal about it, I'm telling you'.
Russian Federation has repeatedly denied any involvement.
Alexander Petrov (left) and Ruslan Boshirov are charged with using novichok to poison an ex-spy and his daughter.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the attack was carried out by officers of the GRU intelligence service and nearly certainly approved "at a senior level of the Russian state".
Yulia and Sergei were discovered slumped on a bench in a critical condition - with the nerve agent also poisoning courageous policemen Sgt Nick Bailey, and later residents Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess.
An Interpol Red Notice and European arrest warrant have been issued, though the Russian Constitution forbids them from being extradited.
Ms Sturgess died while Mr Rowley remains in hospital fighting meningitis after his body was severely weakened by exposure to the military grade poison.
Putin made no comment about whether the names they used were real.
If they do so, it would not be the first time accused Russian assassins have answered worldwide allegations through the Russian media.
Javid described the GRU as a "very well-disciplined organization" that would "only act with orders from the highest level of the Russian government".
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