Putin: novichok suspects are innocent civilians

Lester Mason
September 13, 2018

Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London rushed to accuse Russian Federation of being involved in the incident.

The pair survived, and British authorities last week issued a European arrest warrant for Russian nationals Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov over attack.

The British government has said Putin is ultimately responsible for the attack, a claim the Kremlin has furiously denied.

Putin asked the men to go public.

"Of course we have checked out who these people are", Mr. Putin said at a forum in Vladivostok in response to a question from a reporter. "There is nothing special and nothing criminal about it, I" m telling you. Saying the pair are private citizens, not Russian agents, Putin urged them to speak out.

They believe the men smeared the highly toxic chemical Novichok on a door handle at the Wiltshire home of Mr Skripal.

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

Theresa May told parliament earlier this month that the attack "was nearly certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state".

Russian Federation has said the names of the suspects - as indicated in their passports - given to them by British prosecutors were meaningless.

Prime Minister Theresa May said intelligence showed the poisonings were state-sponsored by Russian Federation. "I have seen nothing to suggest that has changed".

Airport baggage checks "weren't probably as good as they might be" and contributed to two Russian nationals being able to bring Novichok into the United Kingdom, security minister Ben Wallace has suggested.

The British government has not responded to Putin's most recent comments.

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. She later walked back that statement, expressing frustration that British authorities had not shared the files with their Russian counterparts, leaving Moscow "guessing" about what really happened in Salisbury.

Russian Federation retaliated by kicking out a similar number of those countries' envoys. The Brits have leveled charges against them, while not having much in the way of expectations that they'll ever get their hands on them.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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