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

Olga Skabeeva of'Rossia 1 claims the rejection was due to their Russian passports

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.

Putin, speaking at an economic forum in the Russian Pacific port city of Vladivostok, said Russia had located the two men, but that there was nothing special or criminal about them.

Putin made no comment about whether the names they used were real.

Vladimir Putin said he knows who and where they are, but that there was "nothing criminal" about their actions.

Alexander Petrov, left, and Ruslan Boshirov have been charged by British police with attempted murder.

He added that he hoped the two men would "turn up themselves and tell everything".

"We know who they are, we have found them. There is nothing particularly criminal there, I assure you", he said. "We'll see in the near future".

The Russian news agency Fontanka found a Moscow apartment where Boshirov is registered, but neighbors said they have never seen him, according to the UK's Guardian.

British prosecutors issued European arrest warrants last week for Petrov and Boshirov, charging them with conspiracy to murder.

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After the Skripals were poisoned March 4, Britain and more than two dozen other countries expelled a total of 150 Russian spies working under diplomatic cover.

Moscow has vehemently denied it is responsible for the poisoning.

Britain also accused the two men of being officers from Russia's intelligence service.

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 has repeatedly denied any involvement.

Last week they were named by Theresa May as members of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence service. The Russian suspects flew home later that day and haven't returned.

They spent weeks in hospital before being discharged.

Prosecutors deem it futile to apply to Russian Federation for the extradition of the two men, since Moscow does not extradite its own citizens, but a European Arrest Warrant has been obtained and the authorities are also seeking the assistance of Interpol.

The UK's Crown Prosecution Service said it is not applying to Russian Federation for the two men's extradition, because Russian Federation does not extradite its own nationals, according to the BBC.

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