Published: Sat, September 15, 2018

UK poisoning suspects not criminals: Putin

UK poisoning suspects not criminals: Putin

He added with a smirk, "I hope they will soon appear and tell their own story".

Prosecutors deem it futile to apply to Russian Federation for the extradition of the two men but a European Arrest Warrant has been obtained and the authorities are also seeking the assistance of Interpol.

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.

"I hope they will turn up themselves and tell everything".

"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.

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

She further accused Russia of orchestrating the attack and claimed that the suspects were related to the Russian intelligence.

The allegations are staunchly denied by the Kremlin and on Wednesday Mr Putin said the men had been discounted as members of his shadowy security network. I would like to appeal to them so that they hear us today.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the president has not communicated with the men themselves since they were accused of poisoning the Skripals.

"We have repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury in March, and they have replied with obfuscation and lies", Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman told reporters.

Last month the USA confirmed it was implementing fresh sanctions against Russian Federation over the incident. "Let them come out somewhere, to you in the media", he said, describing the men as "civilians".

Britain's allies have backed it over the case, with the United States and other European countries expelling hundreds of Russian diplomats suspected of being spies. Russian Federation kicked out a similar number of those countries' envoys.

Russian Federation had previously said the names given to them by British prosecutors were meaningless. They spent weeks in hospital before being discharged. Russian news agency Fontanka has found traffic tickets and a Moscow apartment registered to Boshirov, but none of the neighbors know him.

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