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Suspects in Skripal poisoning civilians, not criminals: Putin

Suspects in Skripal poisoning civilians, not criminals: Putin

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

Russian Federation has consistently denied any role in either incident.

The CPS has not applied to Russian Federation for the extradition of the two men, as Russian Federation does not extradite its own nationals.

Hours after Putin spoke, Russian state TV said one of the two men, Petrov, had told it by phone that he might comment on the case next week. "Maybe later. Next week, I think", he said.

Prime Minister Theresa May said police and prosecutors now believe the attack on Sergei Skripal was carried out by two Russian military intelligence officers who were nearly certainly acting with the approval of senior Russian officials. "There is nothing particularly criminal there, I assure you", Putin said.

"There have never been and never will be such stupid people in Russian intelligence", journalist Nikolai Dolgopolov, who has written widely about spies, said on Vesti Nedeli.




Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement and some Russian officials have suggested the British security services carried out that attack to stoke anti-Moscow hysteria.

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has warned the men, thought to be aged about 40, will be caught and prosecuted if they ever step out of Russian Federation. They spent weeks in hospital before being discharged.

On 4 March they travelled to Salisbury - having also visited for reconnaissance the previous day - where Mr Skripal's front door was contaminated with Novichok. Sturgess's boyfriend, Charlie Rowley, also fell ill. She later walked back that statement, expressing frustration that British authorities had not shared the files with their Russian counterparts, leaving Moscow "guessing" about what really happened in Salisbury.

Furthermore, the United Kingdom and 25 other western nations expelled Russian diplomatic workers in a display of solidarity. "The government has exposed the role of the GRU, its operatives and its methods, this position is supported by our worldwide allies", the spokesman told reporters.

Russian authorities have identified the two suspects in the Salisbury chemical attack as its civilians.

The head of center-left opposition party Fair Russia says Moscow should sever diplomatic relations with London over recent unfounded accusations regarding the Skripal case - as he believes there is no scope to settle the dispute.


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