Vladimir Putin: Nothing criminal about men named as Salisbury attack suspects

Sergio Conner
September 15, 2018

President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia has identified the two men that Britain named as suspects in the poisoning of a former Russian spy, and that there is "nothing criminal" about them.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Petrov and Boshirov "are officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU".

Two days later, they sprayed nerve agent Novichok on the front door of Skripal's home in the Wiltshire city of Salisbury, before travelling home to Russian Federation later that day, the police said.

"We know who they are, we have found them", the premier said at an economic forum in Vladivostock.

"I hope they will turn up themselves and tell everything". This would be best for everyone.

He added with a smirk, "I hope they will soon appear and tell their own story". "We'll see in the near future".

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

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The UK has said that it has sufficient evidence to charge the men but will not seek extradition of the suspects and instead will apply for a European arrest warrant.

The Skripals survived the poisoning but a local man, Charlie Rowley, picked up a fake perfume bottle containing Novichok weeks later.

Ms Sturgess died in hospital in July, just over a week after the pair fell ill. The Russian agents allegedly entered Britain on a kill mission after flying from Moscow to London Gatwick Airport. They believe the men went on to spread the Novichok nerve agent on the house's door handle, although this moment was not captured on CCTV. She later walked back that statement, expressing frustration that British authorities had not shared the files with their Russian counterparts, leaving Moscow "guessing" about what really happened in Salisbury.

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.

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.

Last month the U.S. confirmed it was implementing fresh sanctions against Russian Federation over the incident.

British police identified the suspects based on their passports and surveillance video, but authorities say Boshirov and Petrov could be aliases.

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