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


"We, of course, looked at what kind of people they are, and we know who they are, we found them", Putin told an audience at the Eastern Economic Forum in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok.

Russian Federation has consistently denied any role in either incident.

Putin on Wednesday did not try to dispute the British evidence, but he insisted the men were innocent.

But Mr Putin said they were civilians and would tell their story soon.

The poisoning left former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal hospitalized for weeks, as well as sickening another resident and killing a fourth.

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The Government said it stood by its assertion that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were officers in Russian military intelligence service the GRU after Mr Putin described them as "civilians".

"There is nothing special there, nothing criminal, I assure you".

The duo had entered Britain on genuine passports, prosecutors said, while British Prime Minister Theresa May described them as military intelligence officers nearly certainly acting on orders from high up in the Russian state.

"These people are officers of Russian military intelligence, the GRU, who used illegal chemical weapons on the streets of our country".

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid warned that the men will be caught and prosecuted if they ever step out of Russian Federation. Sturgess's boyfriend, Charlie Rowley, also fell ill.

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Detectives believe the front door of Mr Skripal's Salisbury home was contaminated with Novichok.

The pair flew back to Moscow from Heathrow later that night.

Furthermore, the United Kingdom and 25 other western nations expelled Russian diplomatic workers in a display of solidarity.

When charges were brought against Petrov and Boshirov last week, Russian media reports appeared to tacitly accept that they were Russians but rejected the possibility that they were sent by the GRU, saying the operation was too clumsy to have been done by well-trained agents.

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.

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For months, Russian Federation has accused the British authorities of fabricating the evidence in the Skripal case, saying the surveillance footage is doctored.