Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Suspects in Skripal poisoning 'civilians, not criminals' - Putin

Suspects in Skripal poisoning 'civilians, not criminals' - Putin

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.

Putin added that the two men do not work for the military and that there is "nothing criminal" about them, calling them "civilians", the Associated press reported.

Meanwhile, a minister has suggested airport checks were not good enough, as Novichok had been brought into the UK. That argument centred on how they made themselves overly visible to surveillance by taking the train to Salisbury and walking through the city, rather than going by private vehicle.

"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.

"I knew from day one that this story about the involvement of Petrov and Boshirov was fake", she said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestured as he addressed the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Wednesday. Well, I hope they will come out themselves and speak about themselves. This would be best for everyone. "They are civilians, of course", before adding there is "nothing criminal" about Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

"We of course checked who these people are".

Rossiya-24 said it had spoken to Mr Petrov but he would not comment now, saying only that he worked for a pharmaceutical company in the Siberian city of Tomsk.

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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.

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid warned that the men will be caught and prosecuted if they ever step out of Russian Federation.

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.

The Skripals spent weeks in the hospital. Sturgess's boyfriend, Charlie Rowley, also fell ill.

Yulia and Sergei Skripal were poisoned in March.

Detectives believe the front door of Mr Skripal's Salisbury home was contaminated with Novichok. "The government has exposed the role of the GRU, its operatives and its methods, this position is supported by our global allies", the spokesman told reporters. A police officer who found them was also hospitalized.

He tried to put bottle and applicator together and got some of the contents on himself. 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. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has also said Britain will push for the European Union to agree new sanctions.

Petrov and Boshirov entered the country on Russian passports and it's believed that those names are likely aliases.

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