Putin says there's 'nothing criminal' about the men the UK accused of trying to assassinate an ex-spy with nerve agent

skripal poisoning suspects

London Metropolitan Police

Photographs showing Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, two men accused of poisoning former spy Sergei Skripal.

  • The UK accused two men of attempting to assassinate a former Russian agent in England with military-grade nerve agent.
  • Vladimir Putin said he knows who and where they are, but that there was "nothing criminal" about their actions.
  • He added that he hoped the two men would "turn up themselves and tell everything."
  • The attack on Sergei Skripal, the former Russian spy, also poisoned another British man and killed a British woman.
  • The Kremlin has repeatedly denied knowing about the poisoning.

Vladimir Putin said that his government has located the two Russian men the UK accused of poisoning a former Russian spy in England, and there is "nothing criminal" about them.

British authorities last week charged two Russian men, identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, with attempted murder over the botched poisoning earlier this year, which used the military-grade nerve agent novichok.

Prime Minister Theresa May said Petrov and Boshirov are officers from Russia's intelligence service, also known as the GRU, whose attack was "almost certainly" authorized by the higher echelons of the Russian government.

Putin said on Wednesday morning there was "nothing criminal" about Petrov and Boshirov, and that he hoped they would "turn up themselves and tell everything."

He appeared to be implying that they were not the people who carried out the poisoning.

Russia Vladimir Putin navy day military generals salute

Sputnik/Mikhail Klementyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg in late July. He said there was "nothing criminal" about the actions of two men accused of an assassination attempt with nerve agent in England earlier this year.

The Russian president said at a conference in Vladivostok, as cited by the BBC:

"We know who they are, we have found them.

"I hope they will turn up themselves and tell everything. This would be best for everyone.

"There is nothing special there, nothing criminal, I assure you. We'll see in the near future."

The attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, southern England, also claimed two other victims: Dawn Sturgess, who died from the poisoning, and Charlie Rowley, who recovered.

Britain believes that Petrov and Boshirov - which may not be the two men's real names - are currently in Russia.

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

Britain's diplomatic relationship with Russia suffered after London accused Moscow of being behind the Skripals' poisoning this March. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied knowing about the attack.

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