Putin says two Skripal poisoning suspects are civilians and not criminals

CCTV6 = image of both suspects on Fisherton Road Salisbury at 13:05hrs on 04 March 2018

CCTV6 = image of both suspects on Fisherton Road Salisbury at 13:05hrs on 04 March 2018

"These are civilians", Putin said in remarks reported by Russian news agencies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says there is "nothing criminal" about the men named by United Kingdom authorities over the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

"They should go to some media outlet". Well, I hope they will come out themselves and speak about themselves. "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.

Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia were left in comas for weeks after being exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, while Dawn Sturgess later died and Charlie Rowley was left in a critical condition after they too came into contact with the substance in nearby Amesbury.

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

Vladimir Putin said the suspects are known to Russian authorities and they have been found, but he rejected Britain's claims that the pair work for the GRU, Russia's military intelligence service.

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Skripal, 66, a former Russian intelligence colonel who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain's MI6 foreign intelligence service, and his 33-year-old daughter were found unconscious on a park bench about four hours after the poison was planted. Thanks to the security cameras they've been installing in most cities and airports, they've got photographs of almost all the movements of the two men from the moment they arrived until they departed for home.

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.

The UK accused two men of attempting to assassinate a former Russian agent in England with military-grade nerve agent.

The British government has said Putin is ultimately responsible for the attack, a claim the Kremlin has strongly denied.

The attack on Sergei Skripal, the former Russian spy, also poisoned another British man and killed a British woman.

The UK's Crown Prosecution Service said it is not applying to Russian Federation for the two men's extradition, because Russian Federation does not extradite its own nationals, according to the BBC.

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