Skripal poisoning suspects not criminals: Putin


The two men accused by the United Kingdom of carrying out a nerve agent attack have been identified and are civilians, not criminals, the Russian president Vladimir Putin has said.

NAN reports that on September 6, the United Kingdom charged two Russian men for the Novichok nerve agent attack on the former spy and his daughter in the English city of Salsibury, accusing them of being Russian military intelligence officers.

Skripal - a former colonel in Russian military intelligence who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain's MI6 foreign intelligence service - and his daughter were found slumped unconscious on a bench in the English city of Salisbury in March.

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

"We, of course, checked who these people are". Saying the pair are private citizens, not Russian agents, Putin urged them to speak out.

We know who they are, we found them.

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

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The British government has said Putin is ultimately responsible for the attack, a claim the Kremlin has furiously denied.

Prosecutors announced charges against Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov for trying to kill Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with Novichok in the city of Salisbury on March 4.

United Kingdom authorities have named the men as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, thought to be officers of Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU.

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. Russian Federation kicked out a similar number of those countries' envoys.

A composite image showing the fake perfume box and bottle that contained the nerve agent meant to poison former spy Sergei Skripal.

He added that the two men were civilians, according the state-run Ria Novosti news agency and Russian Embassy in London.

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.