Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Putin says Russian Federation has identified Salisbury attack suspects

Putin says Russian Federation has identified Salisbury attack suspects

"There is nothing particularly criminal there, I assure you", Putin said.

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.

Detectives believe it is likely the two Salisbury suspects, thought to be aged around 40, travelled under aliases and that Mr Petrov and Mr Boshirov are not their real names.

"I hope that they will emerge (in public) themselves and tell about themselves".

The UK government named the two as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov and said they were from Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU, according to the BBC.

Skripal - a former GRU colonel 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.

Speaking at a panel of an economic conference in Russia's Far East Putin insisted they do not work for the military.

The allegations have already been staunchly denied by the Kremlin and on Wednesday Mr Putin said the men had been discounted as members of his security network. I would like to appeal to them so that they hear us today. At the same time, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that Putin personally did not communicate with the suspects.

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If I listen to players from back in the day and now, a manager can not say what he wants to a player because you feel attacked", he added.

The statement by Putin marked an abrupt shift from Russia's earlier position on the poisoning case that has damaged relations between Moscow and the West.

"We have repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury in March and they have replied with obfuscation and lies".

The Russian president said they are "civilians" with no links to the government.

As NPR has reported: "Over the course of two days, the men traveled from London to Salisbury, England, twice - once to perform reconnaissance around the Skripals' home, and again to put lethal poison on their front door, police say". He was later discharged from hospital, as were the Skripals.

The suspects fled to Russian Federation, who won't extradite them, but they would be arrested if they entered any European Union country.

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.

Skripal's niece Viktoria, who lives in Russia and often voices pro-Kremlin arguments on Russian television talk shows, told the Interfax news agency Wednesday that she knows "through her own sources" that the men identified as Petrov and Boshirov are "ordinary men" who are "shocked" by the accusations.

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