Britain’s attempts to get an explanation from Russia over the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Salisbury have always been met with obfuscation and lies and that hasn’t changed, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Wednesday, Censor.NET reports citing Reuters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia knew the real identity of two men accused by British prosecutors of trying to murder Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia and that they were civilians with nothing criminal about them.
"These men are officers of the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU ... The government has exposed the role of the GRU, its operatives and its methods, this position is supported by our international allies," the spokesman told reporters.
"We have repeatedly asked Russia to account for what happened in Salisbury in March and they have replied with obfuscation and lies. I can see nothing to suggest that has changed."
Russia adamantly denies involvement in the poisoning, which had added to severe strains in ties between Russia and the West.
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.
They accused the pair of smuggling the Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok into Britain in a fake perfume flask and smearing some of the substance on the front door of Sergei Skripal's home in the English city of Salisbury, where the former GRU officer settled after being sent to the West in a Cold War-style spy swap in 2010.
Putin made no comment about whether the names they used were real.
The attack left Sergei Skripal, 67, and Yulia Skripal, 34, in critical condition, but both have recovered after weeks in the hospital.
A couple who authorities said found the perfume bottle after it was discarded by the attackers fared worse: Charlie Rowley recovered after treatment in the hospital but his partner, Dawn Sturgess, 44, died on July 8.
British authorities have said that a European arrest warrant has been issued for the two Russians, who they suspect were using aliases.