Putin says Rus­sia iden­ti­fied sus­pects in Novi­chok poi­son­ing


Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin said on Wed­nes­day that Rus­sia has iden­ti­fied the two men that Bri­tain named as sus­pects in the poi­son­ing of a former Rus­sian spy, and that there is "noth­ing crim­i­nal" about them.

Bri­tain last week charged two al­leged agents of Rus­sia's mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence agency in ab­sen­tia with the poi­son­ing of former Rus­sian spy Sergei Skri­pal and his daugh­ter Yu­lia. Bri­tain blames the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment for the at­tack, a claim that Moscow has ve­he­mently de­nied.

Speak­ing at a panel of an eco­nomic con­fer­ence in Rus­sia's Far East Putin in­sisted they do not work for the mil­i­tary. “We know who these people are, we have found them,” Putin said. “There is noth­ing spe­cial or crim­i­nal about it, I can as­sure you.”

Asked by the panel's mod­er­a­tor if the men work for the mil­i­tary, Putin replied that they are “civil­ians” and called on the men to come for­ward. “I would like to call on them so that they can hear us to­day: They should go to some me­dia out­let. I hope they will come for­ward and tell about them­selves.”

Af­ter the Skri­pals were poi­soned March 4, Bri­tain and more than two dozen other coun­tries ex­pelled a to­tal of 150 Rus­sian spies work­ing un­der diplo­matic cover. Rus­sia kicked out a sim­i­lar num­ber of those coun­tries’ en­voys.

Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May said the use of a chem­i­cal weapon in the city of Sal­is­bury, which left a Bri­tish woman dead and four people, in­clud­ing Skri­pal and his daugh­ter, se­ri­ously ill, was car­ried out by of­fi­cers of the GRU in­tel­li­gence ser­vice and al­most cer­tainly ap­proved “at a se­nior level of the Rus­sian state.”

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin ges­tures as he ad­dresses at the East­ern Eco­nomic Fo­rum in Vladi­vos­tok, Rus­sia, Wed­nes­day, Sept. 12, 2018

This still taken from CCTV and is­sued by the Metropoli­tan Po­lice in Lon­don on Sept. 5, 2018, shows Rus­lan Boshi­rov and Alexan­der Petrov at Sal­is­bury train sta­tion on March 3, 2018

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