Skripal poisoning: Putin says suspects 'civilians, not criminals'

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Putin broke his silence on Wednesday a week after British authorities named the men suspected of trying to murder Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Wiltshire, in March.

In an address to the Easter Economic Forum in Vladivostok, he said: 'Of course, we looked who these people are.

"We know who they are, we have found them. I hope they will come forward and tell about themselves".

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Petrov and Boshirov "are officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU".

Questioned on whether the pair were civilians, he replied: 'Of course they are civilians'.

Following the latest revelations, France, Germany, Canada and the United States endorsed Britain's assessment that Russian military officers were involved and urged Russia to provide "full disclosure" of its Novichok nerve-agent program.

A handout picture taken on Fisherton Road in Salisbury shows Petrov and Boshirov on March 4, 2018, in a photo released by the British Metropolitan Police Service.

Yulia and Sergei were discovered slumped on a bench in a critical condition - with the nerve agent also poisoning fearless policemen Sgt Nick Bailey, and later residents Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess.

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Thursday afternoon, the Hamilton County Sherriff executed a search warrant at the North Bend home of the suspected shooter. Another victim was located inside a nearby ice cream shop. "There was definitely a lot of blood involved", he said.

"There is nothing special or criminal about it, I can assure you".

Prime Minister Theresa May said intelligence showed the poisonings were state-sponsored by Russian Federation.

But Dawn Sturgess, 44, died July 8, after authorities said she and her boyfriend, Charlie Rowley, 48, had also been exposed to Novichok.

Russian Federation and Britain's row over the attempted murder of MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal reignited this week as police confirmed they had found the suspects.

Mr Rowley is seriously ill and was readmitted to hospital earlier this month after going blind.

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.

Putin also said that if the poison used were really a chemical warfare agent, death would have been instantaneous. Russian Federation kicked out a similar number of those countries' envoys.

Javid described the GRU as a "very well-disciplined organization" that would "only act with orders from the highest level of the Russian government".

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