Sept. 7 (UPI) -- The Russian government asked Britain for help Friday to determine whether the two suspects accused of poisoning former spy Sergei Skripal are truly Russian citizens.
Kremlin spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Russia needs more information before it can investigate the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, Britain, on March 4 that sickened Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia.
Wednesday, British authorities named two Russian nationals -- Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov -- as suspects in the case. Prosecutors said they are wanted for conspiring to kill the Skripals, who were hospitalized for weeks after the attack.
Sergei Skripal was granted asylum in Britain in 2010 after he was convicted in Russia of leaking information to British intelligence. He was later released in a spy exchange between the United States and Russia.
"It is necessary to establish who these people are, whether there are such citizens. It's a matter of verification," Zakharova said on Friday. "We want to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible, so we again appeal to the U.K. to help identify these persons, since the information [about the suspects] has been published."
British officials said Petrov and Boshirov fled Britain and returned to Russia, but could be arrested if they enter any European Union country. Although British Prime Minister Theresa May said the attack was "almost certainly" approved by Kremlin leaders, Russia has denied involvement and said it's not even capable of producing the novichok nerve agent used in the attack.
The United States, Germany, France, Canada and Britain condemned Russia at the United Nations Security Council this week. reiterating "outrage" over the use of the Soviet-era nerve agent. The allied Western nations all suspect Petrov and Boshirov are Russian intelligence officers.
"[The] statement by a number of countries at the U.N. Security Council's meeting in which they urge Russia to start interaction with the British investigation looked totally absurd," Zakharova said. "It's a looking-glass world. It begins to look like sheer nonsense. We even had to publish our requests addressed to the British side. True, this does not quite match the diplomatic rules, but the things that London has been doing do not agree with any practice at all."