September 5, 2018 / 10:58 AM / 3 months ago

Russia says names of men accused over Skripal 'mean nothing to us'

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who were formally accused of attempting to murder former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, are seen on CCTV at Salisbury Station on March 4, 2018 in an image handed out by the Metropolitan Police in London, Britain September 5, 2018. Metroplitan Police handout via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the names of two men accused by British prosecutors of trying to murder former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia meant nothing to Moscow, Russian news agencies reported.

British prosecutors on Wednesday identified two Russians — Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov — who they said had tried to murder the Skripals with a military-grade nerve agent in England.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the names of the two men “do not mean anything to us,” adding that the case required careful analysis and therefore close cooperation between London and Moscow.

Britain has blamed Russia for the poisonings. Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement.

“A link is being made with Russia. The names published in the media as well as the photographs mean nothing to us,” TASS quoted Zakharova as saying.

“We again call on the British side to move from public allegations and information manipulation to practical cooperation via law enforcement,” she was quoted as saying by TASS.

Russia’s envoy to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said Moscow had nothing to do with the poisoning, RIA news agency reported.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Andrey Kuzmin; Writing by Andrew Osborn and Tom Balmforth; Editing by Christian Lowe

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