Skripal poisoning suspects not criminals: Putin

Putin says Russia has found men accused by UK over poisoning

President Vladimir Putin says Russia knows the real identity of two men accused by British prosecutors of trying to murder former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Britain.

"We know who these people are; we have found them", Putin said at an economic forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Wednesday, according to the AP.

"I hope they will turn up themselves and tell about themselves", he said.

Britain last week charged two alleged agents of Russia's military intelligence agency in absentia with the nerve agent poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury.

British officials have said the men were agents of Russian military intelligence dispatched to kill Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy who had given information to British intelligence.

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 objective of carrying out a reckless assassination attempt".

GRU agents Petrov and Boshirov are said to have flown into the United Kingdom via Gatwick, stayed in London, and then travelled to Salisbury with the nerve agent on March 4.

He added: 'There is nothing special and nothing criminal about it, I'm telling you'.

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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.

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

Ms Sturgess died while Mr Rowley remains in hospital fighting meningitis after his body was severely weakened by exposure to the military grade poison.

An Interpol Red Notice and European arrest warrant have been issued, though the Russian Constitution forbids them from being extradited.

Putin also said that if the poison used were really a chemical warfare agent, death would have been instantaneous.

He accused Britain of attempting "to unleash a disgusting anti-Russian hysteria".

In a statement that deepened the diplomatic crisis between the two countries, the Prime Minister said: 'The GRU is a highly disciplined organisation with a well-established chain of command.

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