The two men accused by Britain of carrying out a nerve agent attack in Salisbury in an attempt to murder a former Russian spy have been identified and are not criminals, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, according to The Washington Post.
“We know who they are, we found them,” Putin told a session at an economic forum in Vladivostok broadcast on state television. “There is nothing criminal about them. They are just ordinary civilians,” adding that, “I hope they will soon appear and tell their own story.”
British officials have said the two men, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, were agents of Russian military intelligence dispatched to kill Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy who had provided information to British intelligence, according to The Guardian. He was imprisoned in Russia before being released in a spy swap in 2010.
British Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament earlier this month that the attack “was almost certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state.”
Scotland Yard has issued a European arrest warrant for Petrov and Boshirov, who have not been seen publicly since the attack in March.
Britain’s allies have backed it over the incident, with the United States and other European countries expelling hundreds of Russian diplomats suspected of being spies, according to the Post.
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