VLADIVOSTOK, Russia-President Vladimir Putin said he knows the identities of the two Russians accused by the United Kingdom of poisoning a former Russian spy in England, urging them to come forward and tell their story.
"We know who these people are, we have found them", Putin said at a panel at an economic conference in Vladivostok, according to AP.
British authorities announced last week that Russian nationals Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov allegedly carried out the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, England, earlier this year using a deadly nerve agent. "There's nothing particularly even criminal about them, I assure you", he said, adding they were "civilians, of course".
In the months following the attack, Britain and other countries pointed the finger of blame at Russian Federation but the nation has denied any involvement. "We'll see in the nearest future".More news: Erdogan warns attack on Idlib will send Syrian refugees heading to Europe
They believe the men smeared the highly toxic chemical Novichok on a door handle at the Wiltshire home of Mr Skripal.
Russian Federation has repeatedly denied any involvement in the incidents.
Rowley in July unwittingly picked up a fake perfume bottle, which the perpetrators filled with nerve agent meant to poison Skripal and made to look like it was from a designer brand.
"We have repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury in March, and they have replied with obfuscation and lies", Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman told reporters.More news: Apple could unveil biggest iPhone ever Wednesday
British prosecutors last week identified two Russians, whom they said were operating under aliases - Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - and whom they accused of being the so-called "novichock two".
Putin said on Wednesday morning there was "nothing criminal" about Petrov and Boshirov, and that he hoped they would "turn up themselves and tell everything".
Javid described the GRU as a "very well-disciplined organization" that would "only act with orders from the highest level of the Russian government".
Officers have formally linked the attack on the Skripals to events in nearby Amesbury when Dawn Sturgess, 44, and her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, were exposed to the same nerve agent.More news: US Open: Djokovic equals Sampras slam haul with title
After the poisoning, Britain and more than two dozen other countries expelled a total of 150 Russian spies working under diplomatic cover.