Skripal poisoning suspects are civilians, not criminals, says Putin

Skripal poisoning suspects are civilians, not criminals, says Putin

The two suspects in the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter are civilians, not criminals, Russian President Vladimir Putin says.

"We know who they are, we have found them", Putin told an economic forum in the presence of Japan's Shinzo Abe and China's Xi Jinping in the far eastern city of Vladivostok.

Skripal's niece Viktoria, who lives in Russia and often voices pro-Kremlin arguments on Russian television talk shows, told the Interfax news agency later on Wednesday that she knows "through her own sources" that the men identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are "ordinary men" who are "shocked" by the accusations. Well, I hope they will come out themselves and speak about themselves.

British prosecutors last week identified two Russians, whom they said were operating under aliases - Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - and whom they accused of being the so-called "novichock two".

The failed attack sparked an worldwide diplomactic crisis with Russian Federation being accused by several countries - allegations Moscow has repeatedly denied.

He added: 'There is nothing special and nothing criminal about it, I'm telling you'.

Authorities believe the pair smeared the highly toxic chemical novichok on a door handle at the Wiltshire home of Sergei Skripal, leaving the former GRU officer and his daughter Yulia critically ill in March.

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The UK accused two men of attempting to assassinate a former Russian agent in England with military-grade nerve agent.

Russian Federation has repeatedly denied any involvement.

Scotland Yard released photos of the men last week, saying they're wanted in connection to a poisoning attack on a former KGB agent.

"I would like to appeal to them so that they hear us today". "The government has exposed the role of the GRU, its operatives and its methods, this position is supported by our worldwide allies", the spokesman told reporters.

Russian Federation retaliated by kicking out a similar number of those countries' envoys.

Citing the GRU's reputation for strict discipline and hierarchy, May said of the attack on the Skripals, "It was nearly certainly also approved outside the GRU, at a senior level of the Russian state".

Russian Federation has said the names of the suspects - as indicated in their passports - given to them by British prosecutors were meaningless.

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