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Putin says the two men named as suspects in Salisbury poisoning are 'civilians, not criminals'

Putin said the two men do not work for the military and called on them to come forward.

A still from CCTV issued by the Met Police in London showing the two men at Salisbury train station on 3 March
A still from CCTV issued by the Met Police in London showing the two men at Salisbury train station on 3 March
Image: Metropolitan Police/AP

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR Putin has said that there is “nothing criminal” about the two men that Britain has named as suspects in the poisoning of a former Russian spy. 

Britain last week charged two alleged agents of Russia’s military intelligence agency in absentia with the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Britain blames the Russian government for the attack, a claim that Moscow has vehemently denied.

Speaking at a panel of an economic conference in Russia today, Putin insisted they do not work for the military.

“We know who these people are, we have found them,” Putin said. “There is nothing special or criminal about it, I can assure you.”

Asked by the panel’s moderator if the men work for the military, Putin replied that they are “civilians” and called on the men to come forward.

“I would like to call on them so that they can hear us today: They should go to some media outlet. I hope they will come forward and tell about themselves.”

After the Skripals were poisoned on 4 March, Britain, Ireland, and more than two dozen other countries expelled a total of 150 Russian people working under diplomatic cover. Russia kicked out a similar number of those countries’ envoys.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the use of a chemical weapon in the city of Salisbury, which left a British woman dead and four people, including Skripal and his daughter, seriously ill, was carried out by officers of the GRU intelligence service and almost certainly approved “at a senior level of the Russian state.”

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Associated Press

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