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Putin says there’s ‘nothing criminal’ about Russian suspects identified in ex-spy attack

Click to play video: 'Putin maintains the two people alleged to have poisoned Sergei Skripal are ordinary citizens' Putin maintains the two people alleged to have poisoned Sergei Skripal are ordinary citizens
ABOVE: Russian President Vladimir Putin says the two men Britain suspects of poisoning Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, were ordinary citizens with nothing special about them. – Sep 12, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the Kremlin has identified the two men that Britain named as suspects in the poisoning of a former Russian spy, and that there is “nothing criminal” about them.

Britain last week charged two alleged agents of Russia’s military intelligence agency in absentia with the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Britain blames the Russian government for the attack, a claim that Moscow has vehemently denied.

READ MORE: U.S. announces new sanctions on Russia over Sergei Skripal nerve agent attack

Speaking at a panel of an economic conference in Russia’s Far East Putin insisted they do not work for the military.

“We know who these people are, we have found them,” Putin said. “There is nothing special or criminal about it, I can assure you.”

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Asked by the panel’s moderator if the men work for the military, Putin replied that they are “civilians” and called on the men to come forward.

“I would like to call on them so that they can hear us today: They should go to some media outlet. I hope they will come forward and tell about themselves.”

WATCH: British police ID Russian suspects in poisoning of ex-spy, daughter

Click to play video: 'British police ID Russian suspects in poisoning of ex-spy, daughter' British police ID Russian suspects in poisoning of ex-spy, daughter
British police ID Russian suspects in poisoning of ex-spy, daughter – Jul 19, 2018

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. Russia kicked out a similar number of those countries’ envoys.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the use of a chemical weapon in the city of Salisbury, which left a British woman dead and four people, including Skripal and his daughter, seriously ill, was carried out by officers of the GRU intelligence service and almost certainly approved “at a senior level of the Russian state.”

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