UK accuses Russia of 'lies' after Putin's Skripal poisoning denial

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British authorities issued European arrest warrants for the two suspects identified as Ruslan Boshirov (L) and Alexander Petrov (R)

Britain accused Russia on Wednesday of "obfuscation and lies" after President Vladimir Putin denied that the two men Britain suspects of poisoning former spy Sergei Skripal with a nerve agent were military intelligence officers.

"We have repeatedly asked Russia to account for what happened in Salisbury in March, and they have replied with obfuscation and lies," Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman told reporters.

Britain last week issued European arrest warrants for Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov on suspicion of trying to kill Skripal and his daughter Yulia with the Novichok nerve agent in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.

The British government has said it believes the attack was sanctioned by the Kremlin -- a charge that has been strongly denied by the Russian government.

"These men are officers of the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU, who used a devastatingly toxic illegal chemical weapon on the streets of our country," May's spokesman said.