Skripal poisoning suspects not criminals: Putin

Lamar Ellis
September 12, 2018

"We hope they will turn up very soon and will tell everything themselves".

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the two men accused by the United Kingdom of attempting to murder a former Russian double agent and his daughter are not criminals and have been identified as civilians.

British police released a batch of photos of the the men it identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - names that investigators said were likely aliases used for the operation.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied knowing about the poisoning.

"I would like to call on them so that they can hear us today", he said.

Prime Minister Theresa May said Petrov and Boshirov are officers from Russia's intelligence service, also known as the GRU, whose attack was "almost certainly" authorized by the higher echelons of the Russian government.

"They are civilians, of course", he said, apparently responding to a claim by the British authorities that the two suspects are members of Russia's military intelligence agency.

"There is nothing special or criminal about it, I can assure you".

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A couple who authorities said found the perfume bottle after it was discarded by the attackers fared worse: Charlie Rowley recovered after treatment in the hospital but his partner, Dawn Sturgess, 44, died on July 8. "They should go to some media outlet".

Former Russian military intelligence colonel Sergei Skripal attends a hearing at the Moscow District Military Court in Moscow on August 9, 2006.

The Kremlin leader spoke amid new revelations indicating that the "spies" who planted novichok in Salisbury may have stolen the identities of Russian people for their mission.

After the Skripals were poisoned March 4, Britain and more than two dozen other countries expelled a total of 150 Russian spies working under diplomatic cover.

Mr Skripal, 66, and Yulia, 33, were poisoned in the United Kingdom in March.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has previously rejected May's accusations, noting both the unacceptable tone of her statement and the necessity for a thorough and unbiased investigation which has been so far made impossible by London's unwillingness to cooperate with Moscow.

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

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