Putin says two Skripal poisoning suspects are civilians and not criminals

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

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

The comments came one week after United Kingdom authorities charged two Russian men with using Novichok nerve agent to poison former KGB spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

"We know who these people are, we have found them", Putin said in response to question at panel for an economic conference in Vladivostok in Russia's Far East.

British officials have said the men were agents of Russian military intelligence dispatched to kill Sergei Skripal, a Russian ex-spy who had given information to the British.

"We know who they are, we have found them", the premier said at an economic forum in Vladivostock. "There is nothing special and criminal about them, believe me", Putin said, adding that the two were civilians. This would be best for everyone. "We'll see in the nearest future".

His intervention risks widening the gulf between Russian Federation and the United Kingdom over the attempted assassination, which triggered a wave of diplomatic expulsions by both sides. Britain blames the Russian government for the March attack, a claim that Moscow has vehemently denied.

This combination photo made available by the Metropolitan Police on September 5, 2018, shows Alexander Petrov, left, and Ruslan Boshirov. They spent weeks in hospital before being discharged.

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, who died.

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The poison attack has left Britain and Russian Federation in a standoff not seen since the end of the Cold War.

In the months following the attack, Britain and other countries pointed the finger of blame at Russian Federation but the nation has denied any involvement.

In a statement that deepened the diplomatic crisis between the two countries, the Prime Minister said: 'The GRU is a highly disciplined organisation with a well-established chain of command. Rowley gave it to his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess, who later died.

The UK accused two men of attempting to assassinate a former Russian agent in England with military-grade nerve agent.

But a European Arrest Warrant has been obtained in case they travel to the EU.

The case has strong echoes of the poisoning of ex-Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko in Britain in 2006.

Wednesday, Putin said neither were not part of the GRU, a Russian intelligence agency.

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