Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Putin says Russian Federation has found men accused by United Kingdom over poisoning

Putin says Russian Federation has found men accused by United Kingdom over poisoning

President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russian authorities know the identities of the two men accused by Britain of carrying out a nerve agent attack on a former spy, but he added that they are civilians and there is "nothing criminal" about them.

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 was "nothing criminal".

"We know who they are, we have found them. It will be better for everyone".

There's nothing special and criminal about it, I assure you. The men were spotted on numerous security and surveillance cameras as they moved between the two cities.

Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid said on Sunday that the order to carry out the nerve agent attack on 4 March came from the "highest level" of the Russian state. The government exposed the role of the GRU, its operatives and its methods.

This still taken from CCTV and issued by the Metropolitan Police in London on September 5 shows Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov at Salisbury train station on March 3.

The prime minister's official spokesman said the government had "repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury" but that Moscow "had replied with obfuscation and lies". Well, I hope they will come out themselves and speak about themselves. "Maybe later. Next week, I think", he was quoted as saying.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that Putin had not spoken to the two accused men and refused to say how and by whom they had been found.

The CPS is not applying to Russian Federation for the extradition of the two men, as Russian Federation does not extradite its own nationals.

The motive for attacking Skripal, who was exchanged in a Kremlin-approved spy swap in 2010, is still unclear, as is the motive for using an exotic nerve agent, Novichok, which has such clear links to Russia´s Soviet past. The Russian agents allegedly entered Britain on a kill mission after flying from Moscow to London Gatwick Airport. The incident caused tensions between Russian Federation and the United Kingdom, as London and its allies accused Moscow of orchestrating the attack, which it refutes.

The attack left the Skripals hospitalized for weeks, and two other area residents became seriously ill months later. Sturgess's boyfriend, Charlie Rowley, also fell ill.

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