Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday his government knows the identity of the two men Britain has accused of carrying out the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in March.
Russia has denied Britain’s accusations that it was behind the nerve agent attack that sickened Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
Putin said there is “nothing special or criminal” about the two men, adding that they are civilians and he hopes they come forward to “tell about themselves.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May announced last week that investigators had identified two agents from Russia’s GRU spy agency as being responsible for the March attack in the British city of Salisbury and charged them with conspiracy and attempted murder.
Authorities said the suspects arrived at London’s Gatwick airport two days before the poisoning took place.
Their journey from a London hotel to the crime scene in Salisbury was tracked by security cameras. The two men then flew out of Heathrow Airport back to Russia the same evening.
The suspects’ passports gave their names as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, though police believe the names were fake and asked for help in figuring out their real identities.
Canada, France, Germany, Britain and the United States issued a joint statement applauding the charges brought against the two suspects. They also expressed faith in the findings of British investigators.
“We have full confidence in the British assessment that the two suspects were officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU, and that this operation was almost certainly approved at a senior government level.”