Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Putin Says He Knows Identities of Accused Skripal Attackers

Putin Says He Knows Identities of Accused Skripal Attackers

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the two men whom British authorities charged in the attempted assassination of a former Russian spy and his daughter have been identified as "civilians" who do not work for the military, according to Russian media and The Associated Press.

"We know who they are, we have found them", Putin told the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok.

Mr Putin said his government had found the pair and hoped they would appear soon and tell their story.

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

Police and prosecutors last week said Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov had been identified as members of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence service.

Skripal poisoning suspects Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are civilians, not criminals, says Putin.

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Calling the poisoning a "sickening and despicable" attack, Javid said it was "unequivocally, crystal-clear this was the act of the Russian state - two Russian nationals sent to Britain with the sole goal of carrying out a reckless assassination attempt".

A surveillance image shows both suspects at Salisbury train station at 4:11 p.m. on March 3, 2018.

The elder Skripal, who was a Russian intelligence agent that switched sides, as well as his daughter, survived the poisoning and now live in an undisclosed location.

Putin and Russian Federation have vehemently denied having anything to do with the poisoning.

British Prime Minister Theresa May squarely blamed Russia's military intelligence service on September 5 for carrying out the attack, adding that the upper echelons of the Russian state could also have been involved.

Russian Federation and Britain's row over the attempted murder of MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal reignited this week as police confirmed they had found the suspects.

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

Two others also fell ill: Sturgess's boyfriend, Charlie Rowley; and police officer Nick Bailey.

Scotland Yard has issued a European arrest warrant for the two men, who have not been seen publicly since the March attack.

Al Jazeera's Rory Challands, reporting from Vladivostok, said Putin's remarks contradict the earlier claims made by the Russian foreign ministry.

He said the government had exposed them as GRU operatives - and that is what they are.

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