Putin: 'Nothing criminal' about men accused of poisoning ex-spy

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VLADIVOSTOK, Russia-President Vladimir Putin said he knows the identities of the two Russians accused by the United Kingdom of poisoning a former Russian spy in England, urging them to come forward and tell their story.

"There's nothing particularly even criminal about it, I assure you", TASS quoted Putin who delivered the speech at an economic forum in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok.

Putin goes on to claim that his government has "found them" and he sincerely hopes that they'll come forward and tell their side of the story soon.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that Putin had not spoken to the two accused men and refused to say how and by whom they had been found. Thanks to the security cameras they've been installing in most cities and airports, they've got photographs of almost all the movements of the two men from the moment they arrived until they departed for home.

"We know who these people are, we have found them, " Putin said. There is nothing special or criminal there. "We'll see in the near future", he added.

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Javid described the GRU as a "very well-disciplined organization" that would "only act with orders from the highest level of the Russian government".

Putin's declaration came seven days after British authorities announced that they had charged two Russian men, identified as Aleksandr Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, with carrying out the poisioning on March 4.

The British government has said Putin is ultimately responsible for the attack, a claim the Kremlin has furiously denied. Russian Federation has repeatedly denied any involvement.

Ms Sturgess died while Mr Rowley remains in hospital fighting meningitis after his body was severely weakened by exposure to the military grade poison.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Petrov and Boshirov "are officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU".

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He accused Britain of attempting "to unleash a disgusting anti-Russian hysteria".

"We have repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury in March and they have replied with obfuscation and lies".

London and its allies expelled dozens of Russian diplomats after the poisoning, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Moscow and plunging relations to a new low.

British prosecutors issued a warrant for the suspects' arrest last week.

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