United Kingdom accuses Russian Federation of 'lies' after Putin's Skripal poisoning denial

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President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russian authorities know the identities of the two men accused by Britain of carrying out a nerve agent attack on a former spy, but he added that they are civilians and there is "nothing criminal" about them.

"We of course checked who these people are".

Britain last week charged the two Russians they allege are Russian military intelligence agents in absentia with the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

The British government recently said Scotland Yard detectives had identified Mr Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov as suspects, who they said were from Russia's foreign military intelligence agency, the GRU.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said the two suspects were Russian military intelligence officers nearly certainly acting on orders from high up in the Russian state. "We'll see in the nearest future".

The Skripals spent weeks in hospital in a critical condition after the poisoning.

British police said the suspects, both about 40-years old, flew from Moscow to London on Russian passports two days before the Skripals were poisoned.

Mr Skripal was a former GRU agent, before defecting and aiding the UK.

British prosecutors last week identified two Russians, whom they said were operating under aliases - Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - and whom they accused of being the so-called "novichock two".

"I hope they will turn up themselves and tell about themselves", he said in comments that hinted they will make a public statement shortly.

Prime Minister Theresa May said intelligence showed the poisonings were state-sponsored by Russian Federation.

Calling the poisoning a "sickening and despicable" attack, Javid said it was "unequivocally, crystal-clear this was the act of the Russian state - two Russian nationals sent to Britain with the sole objective of carrying out a reckless assassination attempt".

Moscow has vehemently denied it is responsible for the poisoning.

But Dawn Sturgess, 44, died July 8, after authorities said she and her boyfriend, Charlie Rowley, 48, had also been exposed to Novichok.

Britain's allies have backed it over the case, with the United States and other European countries expelling hundreds of Russian diplomats suspected of being spies.

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