Vladimir Putin says men suspected of poisoning former spy in UK identified as civilians, urges them to speak to media

The British government has said Putin is ultimately responsible for the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal, a claim the Kremlin has strongly denied.

Agence France-Presse September 12, 2018 15:46:30 IST
Vladimir Putin says men suspected of poisoning former spy in UK identified as civilians, urges them to speak to media

Vladivostok: Russian president Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the two men whom Britain suspect of poisoning former spy Sergei Skripal with a military-grade nerve agent, are not criminals and have been identified as civilians.

Vladimir Putin says men suspected of poisoning former spy in UK identified as civilians urges them to speak to media

File image of Vladimir Putin. AP

Speaking at an economic forum with Japan's Shinzo Abe and China's Xi Jinping in the far eastern city of Vladivostok, Putin urged the men to address the media and said: "There is nothing special there, nothing criminal, I assure you. We'll see in the near future."

"We know who they are, we have found them," Putin said. "They are civilians, of course," he added, apparently responding to a claim by the British authorities that the two suspects are members of Russia's military intelligence agency.a

Putin urged the two men to speak to journalists. "I hope they will turn up themselves and tell about themselves," he said.

British authorities have issued European arrest warrants for Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, two suspected members of Russian military intelligence, the GRU. They are accused of trying to kill former Russian spy Skripal and his daughter Yulia with the Novichok nerve agent in the English city of Salisbury on 4 March, in an attack London believes was sanctioned by the Kremlin.

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

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