Putin says suspects in Novichok poisoning are ‘civilians’

Putin says Russia has found men accused by UK over poisoning

"I hope they will soon appear and tell their own story", Putin added with a smirk during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and China's Xi Jinping.

GRU agents Petrov and Boshirov are said to have flown into the United Kingdom via Gatwick, stayed in London, and then travelled to Salisbury with the nerve agent on March 4.

While police and prosecutors have announced they have enough information to charge Boshirov and Petrov, and officers have formally linked the attack on the Skripals to the poisoning of Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley, the charges do not relate to the Amesbury pair and authorities say they are still investigating this second incident.

Putin's comments come after Britain last week charged two alleged agents of Russia's military intelligence agency, GRU, in absentia of the murder attempt, which was done through a nerve agent poisoning.

Russian state TV channel Rossiya-24 said the suspect named as Alexander Petrov would maybe speak next week.

British prosecutors issued arrest warrants for Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, charging them with conspiracy to murder and attempted murder of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

Putin said they were civilians who did not work for the military.

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President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russian Federation had identified two men Britain suspects of poisoning former spy Sergei Skripal with a military-grade nerve agent, saying they were civilians.

In an address to the Easter Economic Forum in Vladivostok, he said: 'Of course, we looked who these people are. They're just a couple of guys, you know? "I hope they will come forward and tell about themselves". "We'll see in the near future", he added.

Two others also fell ill: Sturgess's boyfriend, Charlie Rowley; and police officer Nick Bailey.

Moscow has vehemently denied it is responsible for the poisoning.

Detectives believe it is likely the two Salisbury suspects, thought to be aged around 40, travelled under aliases and that Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names.

A composite image showing the fake perfume box and bottle that contained the nerve agent meant to poison former spy Sergei Skripal.

They said they would not formally demand the men's extradition, as Russian Federation does not extradite its citizens, but have obtained a European Arrest Warrant for the pair.

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