Vladimir Putin says Russia has identified the men suspected of the Salisbury poisonings and that they are “civilians” not linked to the government.
“We know who they are, we have found them,” Mr Putin said at an economic forum in the Russian city of Vladivostok.
“There is nothing special or criminal about it, I can assure you.”
The Russian president denied they worked for the military and described them as “civilians”.
“I would like to call on them so that they can hear us today,” said Mr Putin.
“They should go to some media outlet. I hope they will come forward and tell about themselves.”
The UK government recently concluded the men were from Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU.
Theresa May said it was not a “rogue operation” and their actions were “almost certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state”.
Police published a detailed photographic account of the men’s movements while in the UK.
It named them as Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov but said those names were probably false.
An Interpol “red notice” and a European arrest warrant have been issued for their arrest should they ever try to leave Russia.
Russia never extradites its citizens so the UK government did not bother asking. The Kremlin refused to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, the suspect in the 2006 Alexander Litvinenko poisoning.
Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury in March this year.
Tests found they had been poisoned with the deadly nerve agent novichok.
The Skripals recovered but British woman Dawn Sturgess died after finding a discarded perfume bottle that authorities believe was used to transport the novichok.
From – SkyNews