UK poisoning suspects not criminals: Putin

Putin says two Skripal suspects are civilians

Russian wanted over novichok poisoning 'to break silence'

"We know who these people are, we have found them", Putin said at a panel at an economic conference in Vladivostok, according to AP.

Last month the U.S. confirmed it was implementing fresh sanctions against Russian Federation over the incident.

Asked by the panel's moderator if the men work for the military, Putin replied that they are "civilians" and called on the men to come forward and speak to the media. "Maybe later. Next week, I think", he was quoted as saying.

Skripal - a former GRU colonel who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain's MI6 foreign intelligence service - and his daughter were found slumped unconscious on a bench in the English city of Salisbury in March.

"There is nothing special or criminal there", he added.

The elder Skripal, who was a Russian intelligence agent who switched sides, as well as his daughter, survived the poisoning and now live in an undisclosed location.

Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid said on Sunday that the order to carry out the nerve agent attack on 4 March came from the "highest level" of the Russian state.

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has warned the men, thought to be aged about 40, will be caught and prosecuted if they ever step out of Russian Federation.

A police officer who visited the home of the Skripals shortly after the attack, Nick Bailey, was also left critically ill from exposure to the substance. They believe the men went on to spread the Novichok nerve agent on the house's door handle, although this moment was not captured on CCTV.

Ms Sturgess died in hospital in July, just over a week after the pair fell ill.

Furthermore, the United Kingdom and 25 other western nations expelled Russian diplomatic workers in a display of solidarity.

They said they would not formally demand the men's extradition, as Russian Federation does not extradite its citizens, but have obtained a European Arrest Warrant for the pair. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has also said Britain will push for the European Union to agree new sanctions.

Detectives believe it is likely the two Salisbury suspects, thought to be aged around 40, travelled under aliases and that Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names.

For months, Russian Federation has accused the British authorities of fabricating the evidence in the Skripal case, saying the surveillance footage is doctored.

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