RUSSIA: Putin says suspects ‘civilians, not criminals’
Skripal poisoning: Putin says suspects ‘civilians, not criminals’
The two suspects in the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter are civilians, not criminals, Russian President Vladimir Putin says.
The UK government named them as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, and said they were from Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU.
Mr Putin said his government had found the pair and he hoped they would appear soon and tell their story.
Mr Skripal and Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury, in the UK, in March.
“We know who they are, we have found them,” Mr Putin said in the far eastern city of Vladivostok.
“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,” he added.
Scotland Yard and the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service have said there is enough evidence to charge the men, who are understood to have travelled to London from Moscow on 2 March on Russian passports.
Two days later, police say they sprayed the nerve agent, Novichok, on the front door of Mr Skripal’s home in the Wiltshire city of Salisbury, before travelling home to Russia later that day.
UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has warned the men, thought to be aged about 40, will be caught and prosecuted if they ever step out of Russia.
The CPS is not applying to Russia for the extradition of the two men, as Russia does not extradite its own nationals.
But a European Arrest Warrant has been obtained in case they travel to the EU.