Putin says Skripal poisoning suspects are 'civilians'


The 2 suspects in the poisoning of ex-Russian check Sergei Skripal and his daughter are civilians, no longer criminals, Russian President Vladimir Putin says.United Kingdom authorities have named the men as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, thought to be officers of Russia's protection force intelligence provider, the GRU.

The allegations are staunchly denied by the Kremlin and on Wednesday Mr Putin said the men had been discounted as members of his shadowy security network.

Two days later, they sprayed nerve agent Novichok on the front door of Skripal's home in the Wiltshire city of Salisbury, before travelling home to Russian Federation later that day, the police said.

"We know who they are, we have found them", Mr Putin said in the far eastern city of Vladivostok. I hope that they will show up and tell everything themselves. This would be best for everyone. "They are civilians, of course", before adding there is "nothing criminal" about Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. "We are going to look in the come future", he added.

Prosecutors deem it futile to apply to Russian Federation for the extradition of the two men but a European Arrest Warrant has been obtained and the authorities are also seeking the assistance of Interpol.

Ms Sturgess died in hospital in July, just over a week after the pair fell ill.

Yulia and Sergei Skripal were poisoned in March.

According to British officials who have been combing CCTV footage in subsequent months, the two Russian nationals were seen arriving at London Gatwick Airport on March 2 before being spotted in Salisbury on March 3 and 4.

Officers believe a modified perfume bottle was used to spray the door. She later walked back that statement, expressing frustration that British authorities had not shared the files with their Russian counterparts, leaving Moscow "guessing" about what really happened in Salisbury. A police officer who found them was also hospitalized. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has also said Britain will push for the European Union to agree new sanctions.

This still taken from CCTV and issued by the Metropolitan Police in London on September 5 shows Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov at Salisbury train station on March 3.

The head of center-left opposition party Fair Russia says Moscow should sever diplomatic relations with London over recent unfounded accusations regarding the Skripal case - as he believes there is no scope to settle the dispute.