President Vladimir Putin says Russia has identified the two men suspected of poisoning a former Russian spy in Britain.
Speaking at an economic forum in Vladivostok, the Russian leader said the two suspects in the attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were civilians.
British police identified the couple as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov and claimed that they were members of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence service.
But Putin said: & # 39; We know who they are, we have found them. They are civilians, of course.
Vladimir Putin, photographed today at an economic forum in Russia, says his country's authorities have found the men suspected of the Novichok attack
Alexander Petrov, on the CCTV recording, and Ruslan Boshirov, on the left, were named by the British authorities as suspects and said to be part of the Russian military intelligence service.
It comes amid claims that the pair had a "backup" team with four other suspects still believed to be at large.
It is also said that the two alleged murderers have visited the United Kingdom several times, posing as rich Russians, so their trip in March would not arouse suspicion.
Work has begun to decontaminate the home of the poisoning victim Mr. Skripal, six months after the attack.
A cordon has been established so that police investigations or cleanup work can be carried out safely and will remain in place until decontamination is complete.
They were accused of the Novichok attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, right, and his daughter Yulia, left
The anti-terrorist officials believe that in the house Mr. Skripal, a former Russian agent, and his daughter Yulia were contaminated with neurotoxic agents on March 4, after a high concentration of the chemical weapon was found at the front door.
Former GRU officer Mr. Skripal and his daughter Yulia became seriously ill after being exposed to the military-grade nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury in March.
Detectives believe it is likely that the two suspects, who are believed to be around 40 years old, travel under alias and that Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names.
Prosecutors consider it useless to ask Russia for the extradition of the two men, but a European arrest warrant has been obtained and the authorities are also seeking the help of Interpol.
Officials formally linked the attack to the Skripals with events in the vicinity of Amesbury when Dawn Sturgess, 44, and her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, were exposed to the same nerve agent. Mrs. Sturgess died later in the hospital.
Moscow has continued to deny that it was involved in the attack.