Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the two men accused by the United Kingdom of attempting to murder a former Russian double agent and his daughter are not criminals and have been identified as civilians.
British prosecutors charged two Russian nationals, identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, last week for allegedly poisoning former spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a military-grade nerve agent in the city of Salisbury in March.
Putin, speaking at the Eastern Economic Forum in the Russian port city of Vladivostok, said that Russia had found the two men, that there was nothing criminal about them and that he hoped they would come forward and tell the world their own story.
“We, of course, checked who these people are. We know who they are, we found them… I hope they will come out themselves and speak about themselves. It will be better for everyone,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the economic summit.
“There is nothing special there, nothing criminal, I assure you. We’ll see in the near future,” he added.
Putin urged the two men to speak to the journalists.
“I would like to appeal to them so that they hear us today.”