Skripal poisoning suspects are civilians, not criminals, says Putin

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"We know who they are, we have found them", Mr Putin told an economic forum in the presence of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the far eastern city of Vladivostok. We'll see soon. They are civilians of course.

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.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov (who have to be the two Russians with the most Russian names ever) were accused of the Sergei Skripal assassination attempt. Police posted detailed surveillance camera images tracking the two men moving through crowded British transport hubs, allegedly carrying the military-grade poison.

We have checked what kind of people they are.

He added, "There is nothing special or criminal about it, I can assure you". "We'll see in the near future".

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Former Russian military intelligence colonel Sergei Skripal attends a hearing at the Moscow District Military Court in Moscow on August 9, 2006.

The comments came one week after United Kingdom authorities charged two Russian men with using a Novichok nerve agent to poison former KGB spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

A 44-year-old British national, Dawn Sturgess, died in July from exposure to what police say was the same nerve agent that afflicted the Skripals, in a town just north of Salisbury.

While one of the two accused, Boshirov, looked like a photograph released by Britain, the other, Petrov, looked nothing like the other photograph and had not been in Britain at the time of the attempted poisoning incident, she added.

Mum-of-three Sturgess was the one fatality of the incident which plunged relations between Britain and Russian Federation to lows not seen since the Cold War.

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

The Skripals spent weeks in hospital in a critical condition after the poisoning.

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

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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