Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said the two men Britain accused of poisoning former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter are actually civilians, not military intelligence officers - and that there is "nothing criminal about them".
Putin urged the men to address the media and said there was "nothing criminal" about them, as he spoke at an economic forum in the far eastern city of Vladivostok.
"I hope they will turn up themselves and tell everything".
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're civilians, of course".
Russia's UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, meanwhile, told the UN Security Council that Britain's claim Russian Federation was behind the attack was an invention "out of thin air", and riddled with inconsistencies.
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He added: 'There is nothing special and nothing criminal about it, I'm telling you'.
Prime Minister Theresa May said intelligence showed the poisonings were state-sponsored by Russian Federation.
The British government also released detailed surveillance footage tracking the pair's apparent movements and an image of the perfume bottle purportedly used to administer the nerve agent on the Skripals' front door.
The comments came one week after United Kingdom authorities charged two Russian men with using a Novichok nerve agent to poison former KGB spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
The Russian news agency Fontanka found a Moscow apartment where Boshirov is registered, but neighbors said they have never seen him, according to the UK's Guardian.
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Rowley gave it to his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess, who later died. Russian Federation kicked out a similar number of those countries' envoys. "The government has exposed the role of the GRU, its operatives and its methods, this position is supported by our worldwide allies", the spokesman told reporters.
They were described as being about 40 years old and believed to be travelling under fake names.
Theresa May told parliament earlier this month that the attack "was nearly certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state".
Interpol released a "red notice" for the two men and the European Union put out an arrest warrant that might come into play if they ever leave Russian Federation again, but that also sounds unlikely.
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