Putin: Russia knows real identities of suspects in United Kingdom poisoning case

British authorities issued European arrest warrants for the two suspects identified as Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov More

The statement by Putin marked an abrupt shift from Russia's earlier position on the poisoning case that has damaged relations between Moscow and the West.

Britain continues to insist that the suspects serve in the Russian military intelligence agency.

British prosecutors last week identified two Russians who they said were operating under aliases - Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - who they said had tried to murder the Skripals with a military-grade nerve agent in England.

Authorities believe the pair smeared the highly toxic chemical Novichok on a door handle at the Wiltshire home of former GRU officer Sergei Skripal, leaving he and his daughter Yulia critically ill in March.

Britain blamed the Russian government for the attack, an allegation that Moscow has vehemently denied.

"We know who they are, we have found them", Mr Putin said in the far eastern city of Vladivostok. "There is nothing particularly criminal there, I assure you", Putin said. Of his call for the men to speak publicly, Putin said, "It will be better for everyone".

Asked about Putin's remarks, Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said Britain's attempts to get an explanation from Russian Federation over the poisoning of the Skripals had always been met with obfuscation and lies and that had not changed.

The motive for attacking Skripal, who was exchanged in a Kremlin-approved spy swap in 2010, is still unclear, as is the motive for using an exotic nerve agent, Novichok, which has such clear links to Russia´s Soviet past.


The attack in Salisbury prompted an worldwide row, with more than 20 countries expelling Russian envoys in solidarity with the United Kingdom, including the U.S., while Moscow expelled diplomats in response.

The Skripals spent weeks in the hospital. One of them, a 44-year-old woman, later died.

"Ultimately of course he is responsible, he is leader of the state", he said. "They're civilians, of course".

"We have repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury in March and they have replied with obfuscation and lies", Slack said. "I can see nothing to suggest that has changed". "Let them come out somewhere, to you in the media", he said, describing the men as "civilians". Russian Federation kicked out a similar number of those countries' envoys.

He said the government had exposed them as GRU operatives - and that is what they are. The men were spotted on numerous security and surveillance cameras as they moved between the two cities.

She claimed that Petrov was not in Britain around the time of the poisoning but did not elaborate on how she knew that.

His hint that the men could soon break their cover recalls memories of the assassination of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko on British soil, when suspects Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun publicly rejected the allegations from Russian Federation.

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