12.09.2018 | Putin mocks Britain over Novichok 2: 'We've found them – they are civilians'
Source - The Daily Express
RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has taunted British authorities by saying he knows the real names of the two men identified last week as being responsible for the novichok poisonings of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, while declaring them to be “civilians” and urging them to come forward to proclaim their innocence.
The Skripals were left seriously ill after the apparent nerve gas attack in March, while resident Dawn Sturgess tragically died after being exposed to the poison months later in the village of Amesbury.
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”.
But Mr Putin said: “We have checked what kind of people they are.
"We know who they are, we have found them.
“We hope they will turn up very soon and will tell everything themselves.
“It will be better for all of us.
“There is nothing criminal in it”.
Speaking at an economic forum in the Russian port city of Vladivostok, Mr Putin denied British allegations that they work for the GRU military intelligence service, insisting that they were in fact “civilians”.
He did not say why the pair have not yet spoken to deny their role in the mission.
Anti-terrorist police have made it clear they believe GRU agents had used aliases for their attack on Sergei Skripal, 67 and his daughter Yulia, 34.
Mr Skripal is a former GRU agent who secretly spied for Britain before being pardoned by the Kremlin and exchanged with among others – glamour agent Anna Chapman.
The Kremlin leader spoke amid new revelations indicating that the “spies” who planted novichok in Salisbury may have stolen the identities of Russian people for their mission.