Downing Street rejects Putin claim that Salisbury attack suspects were civilians

Evarado Alatorre
Setiembre 15, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin says there is "nothing criminal" about the men named by United Kingdom authorities over the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the BBC reports.

"We know who they are, we have found them", he told the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok city. On September 12, President Vladimir Putin said that the "poisoners" were civilians and invited them to address the media themselves. "It will be better for everyone". "They are civilians, of course", before adding there is "nothing criminal" about Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

The duo had entered Britain on genuine passports, prosecutors said, while British Prime Minister Theresa May described them as military intelligence officers nearly certainly acting on orders from high up in the Russian state.

Authorities alleged they were agents of Russia's military intelligence agency known as the GRU and accused them of poisoning former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury on March 4.

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

The prime minister's official spokesman said the government had "repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury" but that Moscow "had replied with obfuscation and lies".

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Investigators released a cache of evidence, including security camera images that captured the progress of the two men from an Aeroflot flight to the scene of the crime, and from there back to Moscow, the New York Times reported.

"I knew from day one that this story about the involvement of Petrov and Boshirov was fake", she said.

The CPS is not applying to Russian Federation for the extradition of the two men, as Russian Federation does not extradite its own nationals.

Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey also fell ill after responding to the Salisbury incident.

The attack left the Skripals hospitalized for weeks, and two other area residents became seriously ill months later.

A 44-year-old British national, Dawn Sturgess, died in July from exposure to what police say was the same nerve agent that afflicted the Skripals, in a town just north of Salisbury. Russian Federation has repeatedly denied any involvement in the incidents.

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