Vladimir Putin identifies Skripal case suspects

Police stand guard outiside the City Stay hotel in Bow east London Britain 05 September

Police stand guard outiside the City Stay hotel in Bow east London Britain 05 September

Theresa May previously announced the pair were Russian military intelligence officials, there was "hard evidence" against them and "this was not a rogue operation. nearly certainly" approved at a "senior level of the Russian state".

Asked about the case on Wednesday at the eastern economic forum in Vladivostok, Mr Putin tried to shift the blame away from the Russian state, insisting that the two men were "civilians".

He appeared to be implying that they were not the people who carried out the poisoning. "I would like to call on them so that they can hear us today", he said Wednesday.

"I hope they will turn up themselves and tell about themselves" to journalists, Mr. Putin said in comments that hinted they could make a public statement shortly. Of his call for the men to speak, he said, "It will be better for everyone".

Following the poisoning, it was indicated that the Central Intelligence Agency would offer to settle the pair into a new life with new identities in the U.S., to protect them from any further assassination attempts. "They will come somewhere, to you, the mass media".

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said on September 9 that Britain will catch the two men and bring them to prosecution if they ever step out of Russian Federation.

In this handout photo issued by the Metropolitan Police, Salisbury Novichok poisoning suspects Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are shown on CCTV on Fisherton Road, Salisbury on March 4, 2018.


"These men are officers of the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU".

He said the government had exposed them as GRU operatives - and that is what they are.

"We have repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury in March and they have replied with obfuscation and lies", Slack said. "I can see nothing to suggest that has changed".

Russian Federation has consistently denied any role in either incident.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the president has not communicated with the men themselves since they were accused of poisoning the Skripals. Putin said they were civilians.

His hint that the men could soon break their cover recalls memories of the assassination of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko on British soil, when killers Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun publicly refuted the allegations from Russian Federation.

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