Putin: Skripal poisoning suspects 'civilians, not criminals'

Putin says Russia has found men accused by UK over poisoning

British officials earlier this month charged the two men in absentia with the attempted murder with novichok of Sergei Skripal, as well as his daughter and a policeman who investigated the scene.

One week ago, Ed talked about the two Russian GRU agents blamed by Britain for the poisoning attack.

Putin added that the two men do not work for the military and that there is "nothing criminal" about them, calling them "civilians", the Associated press reported.

"I would like to call on them so that they can hear us today", he told an economic forum in the Russian city of Vladivostok.

"I call on them to appear before the media and tell their story", Putin said, according to Russia's embassy in the U.K. His remarks Wednesday came from Vladivostok, where Putin is holding an economic summit with other leaders. They're just a couple of guys, you know?

The UK government named them as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, and said they were from Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU.

The two suspects named by the United Kingdom as being behind the Novichok poisonings have been found in Russian Federation.

"I hope they will turn up themselves and tell about themselves", he said in comments that hinted they will make a public statement shortly.

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A handout picture taken on Fisherton Road in Salisbury shows Petrov and Boshirov on March 4, 2018, in a photo released by the British Metropolitan Police Service. "We'll see in the near future", he added.

British Prime Minister Theresa May squarely blamed Russia's military intelligence service on September 5 for carrying out the attack, adding that the upper echelons of the Russian state could also have been involved.

Russian Federation adamantly denies involvement in the poisoning, which had added to severe strains in ties between Russian Federation and the West.

Det Sgt Nick Bailey also fell ill after responding to the incident in the city of Salisbury.

Detectives believe it is likely the two Salisbury suspects, thought to be aged around 40, travelled under aliases and that Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names.

Mr Skripal was a former GRU agent, before defecting and aiding the UK.

Ms Sturgess died in hospital on 8 July.

They said they would not formally demand the men's extradition, as Russian Federation does not extradite its citizens, but have obtained a European Arrest Warrant for the pair.

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