Posted on Sep 12, 2018
Russian president Vladimir Putin has stated that there is "nothing criminal" about Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, the two Russians named by British intelligence as members of the GRU - Russia's Military Intelligence Service - and as the perpetrators of the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
In Putin's eyes, of course, there is indeed nothing criminal about the two men, as they would have been acting in accordance with Russian law.
A woman near Salisbury, Dawn Sturgess, died in July and her partner Charlie Rowley fell ill after Rowley found a counterfeit bottle of Nina Ricci perfume containing Novichok, associated with the attack on the Skripals and callously discarded by the two GRU operators, and brought it home.
In early 2006 Russian lawmakers passed a series of amendments, known as 153-FZ, to existing legislation, that allowed the president to order the "elimination" of "extremists" by Russian security services "at home or abroad".
153-FZ also categorised critics of the Russian state as "extremists".
It was this amended legislation that authorised Putin to order the murder of a UK citizen, Alexander Litvinenko, in London in 2006. Two former KGB/FSB operatives, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, have been named by the British government as the killers.
Lugovoi was rewarded for his work in London with a seat in the Duma - the Russian parliament.
The Putin regime has refused to extradite either of the two to the UK to face justice. It is reported that the British government will not request extradition of the two GRU operators as the Kremlin would never honour such a request.
The GRU, identified as being behind the attempted Skripal murders, was also behind the failed attempt by Mehmet Ali Ağcato to assassinate Pope John Paul II in Vatican City in 1981.
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