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Putin says suspects in Novichok poisoning are ‘civilians’

Russian journalists being refused at the London hotel where the two novichok suspects stayed

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.

"I hope that they will show up and tell everything themselves".

"We know who they are, we have found them", Mr Putin told an economic forum in the presence of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the far eastern city of Vladivostok.

Russian Federation has consistently denied any role in either incident.

Last week they were named by Theresa May as members of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence service.

The poisoning left former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal hospitalized for weeks, as well as sickening another resident and killing a fourth.

He added, "There is nothing special or criminal about it, I can assure you". "We'll see in the near future", he added.

"They are civilians, of course", Putin said, contradicting the British government's assertion that they are officers of Russia's military intelligence agency, known as the GRU.

Yulia and Sergei were discovered slumped on a bench in a critical condition - with the nerve agent also poisoning courageous policemen Sgt Nick Bailey, and later residents Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess.

Russian Federation and Britain's row over the attempted murder of MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal reignited this week as police confirmed they had found the suspects.

Three months later Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley were admitted to hospital after being contaminated with a discarded perfume bottle, used to carry the poison.

Russian Federation retaliated by kicking out a similar number of those countries' envoys.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the attack was carried out by officers of the GRU intelligence service and nearly certainly approved "at a senior level of the Russian state".

He said the government had exposed them as GRU operatives - and that is what they are.

They were described as being about 40 years old and believed to be travelling under fake names.

Britain's allies have backed it over the case, with the United States and other European countries expelling hundreds of Russian diplomats suspected of being spies.

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. Mr Rowley was later discharged.