VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept 12 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday Russia had found the two men accused by British prosecutors of trying to murder ex- Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Britain, but that there was nothing criminal about them.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestured as he addressed the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Wednesday.
"We know who they are, we found them. It will be better for everyone".
He added with a smirk, "I hope they will soon appear and tell their own story". Police posted detailed surveillance camera images tracking the two men moving through crowded British transport hubs, allegedly carrying the military-grade poison.More news: 150 people awaiting rescue in New Bern, NC
Two days later, police say they sprayed the nerve agent, Novichok, on the front door of Mr Skripal's home in the Wiltshire city of Salisbury, before travelling home to Russian Federation later that day.
Citing the GRU's reputation for strict discipline and hierarchy, May said of the attack on the Skripals, "It was nearly certainly also approved outside the GRU, at a senior level of the Russian state".
Russian state TV channel Rossiya-24 said the suspect named as Alexander Petrov would maybe speak next week.
The prime minister's official spokesman said the government had "repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury" but that Moscow "had replied with obfuscation and lies".More news: Hurricane Florence Reduces Its Intensity But Not Its Destructive Power
Responding to Mr Putin's comments on Wednesday the Prime Minister's official spokesman reiterated that the men were GRU officers "who used a devastatingly toxic illegal chemical weapon on the streets of our country". "Maybe later. Next week, I think", he said. I hope that they will show up and tell everything themselves.
A police officer who visited the home of the Skripals shortly after the attack, Nick Bailey, was also left critically ill from exposure to the substance.
The Skripals' poisoning by the deadly nerve agent Novichok triggered a tense diplomatic showdown. The Russian agents allegedly entered Britain on a kill mission after flying from Moscow to London Gatwick Airport. Investigators said the banned Soviet-era nerve agent novichok was found on the front door to their home. They spent weeks in hospital before being discharged.
Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement in the poisoning, casting it as part of a Western plot to smear Russian Federation to justify more sanctions against it.More news: A new poll shows the biggest problem Republicans face in November's midterms
Britain and more than two dozen other countries expelled a total of 150 Russian diplomats, and Russia kicked out a similar number of those countries' envoys.