Monday, 17 December, 2018

Vladimir Putin: 'Nothing criminal' about suspects in Novichok nerve agent poisoning

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov GETTY NOVICHOK Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are facing charges for the attack in Salisbury
Ellis Copeland | 14 September, 2018, 18:29

The U.K. last week identified two men it said were Russian military-intelligence officers who carried out the attack on Sergei Skripal, a former spy, and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury in March.

Speaking at a panel of an economic conference in Russia's far eastern city of Vladivostok, Putin insisted the two men did not work for the military.

NAN reports that on September 6, the United Kingdom charged two Russian men for the Novichok nerve agent attack on the former spy and his daughter in the English city of Salsibury, accusing them of being Russian military intelligence officers.

Mr Putin said his government had found the pair and he hoped they would appear soon and tell their story. This would be best for everyone.

"There's nothing particularly even criminal about it, I assure you".

They were described as being about 40 years old and believed to be travelling under fake names.

The attack left the Skripals hospitalized for weeks, and two other local residents were seriously sickened months later. They're just a couple of guys, you know?

Putin's declaration came seven days after British authorities announced that they had charged two Russian men, identified as Aleksandr Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, with carrying out the poisioning on March 4.

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After British authorities released photos and video of the men, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova alleged that two of the photos in a London airport had been doctored. Investigators said the banned Soviet-era nerve agent novichok was found on the front door to their home.

The Russian president noted that the "suspects" were civilians.

Yulia and Sergei were discovered slumped on a bench in a critical condition - with the nerve agent also poisoning fearless policemen Sgt Nick Bailey, and later residents Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, who died.

Russian Federation had previously said the names given to them by British prosecutors were meaningless.

Wednesday, Putin said neither were not part of the GRU, a Russian intelligence agency. He was hospitalized and his girlfriend Dawn Sturgess, 44, died after being exposed to the contents.

Russian state media has reported that a man named Alexander Petrov worked for a pharmaceuticals company in the Siberian city of Tomsk and has denied any involvement in the case.

Western officials say Russia's intelligence services have grown increasingly aggressive in their overseas activities.

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