With the wave of new evidence substantiating the UK’s claim that Russia planned and executed the nerve gas poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter at Salisbury, by obtaining and publishing CCTV footages of the two suspects who arrived in the UK days before the attack and actually were in Salisbury the day of the attack, one would expect Russia to either hand over the suspects or offer proof or examination while the suspected duo were doing in the UK and in particular Salisbury.

But as is the norm with Putin, who is alien to decorum and shame, who believes in the power of rhetorical denial in the face of compelling emvidene, the Russian Government has continued to offer lame defence that is as annoying as it is unworthy of print or reportage.

Police and prosecutors last week said Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov had been identified as members of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service.

Putin did not only deny the men but sought to assure evrtoeveat the Eastern economic forum that they are  “civiliansing criminal about them” without offering further explanation.

In an unusual move, he then called on Petrov and Boshirov to appear before the media to talk about ‘themselves’.

His intervention risks widening the gulf between Russia and the UK over the attempted assassination, which triggered a wave of diplomatic expulsions by both sides.

Detectives believe it is likely the two suspects, thought to be aged around 40, travelled under aliases and that Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names.

Prosecutors deem it futile to apply to Russia for the extradition of the two men but a European Arrest Warrant has been obtained and the authorities are also seeking the assistance of Interpol.

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