Russian accused by London over spy poisoning may speak next week

Frederick Owens
September 14, 2018

Vladimir Putin has said that Russian Federation has identified the men accused of carrying out the Salisbury nerve agent attack - but insists there is "nothing criminal" about them.

Prosecutors in the United Kingdom have issued European arrest warrants for the two men, who are accused of using a phony perfume bottle to spray the nerve agent Novichok on the front-door handle of Skripal's home in the English city of Salisbury on March 4. "They are just ordinary civilians", Putin told a session at an economic forum in Vladivostok broadcast on state TV. On September 12, President Vladimir Putin said that the "poisoners" were civilians and invited them to address the media themselves. This would be best for everyone. "There is nothing special and nothing criminal about it, I'm telling you". "We are going to look in the come future", he added.

Interpol released a "red notice" for the two men and the European Union put out an arrest warrant that might come into play if they ever leave Russian Federation again, but that also sounds unlikely.

Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of London, on March 4.

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

Beyond identifying them as Russian nationals, the prosecutors gave no indication as to who the men are.

After British authorities released photos and video of the men, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova alleged that two of the photos in a London airport had been doctored.

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The police said that Sturgess and Rowley were later exposed to the nerve agent after handling a contaminated container, labelled as Nina Ricci Premier Jour perfume.

The failed attack sparked an worldwide diplomactic crisis with Russian Federation being accused by several countries - allegations Moscow has repeatedly denied.

Yesterday the Russian president said the men had been tracked down.

Speaking at a panel of an economic conference in Russia's Far East Putin insisted they do not work for the military.

British officials demanded at a meeting with Russia's charge d'affaires that those responsible for the poisoning of the Skripals were brought to justice.

Ms Sturgess died while Mr Rowley remains in hospital fighting meningitis after his body was severely weakened by exposure to the military grade poison.

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