Russian Flag Flies on Cathedral in English Town Where Ex-Spy Was Poisoned Express News
LONDON — Two weeks before the anniversary of a nerve-agent attack against a former Russian spy in Salisbury, England, someone unfurled a large Russian flag on the city’s cathedral overnight, in what residents took to be a mockery of the ordeal they suffered last year.
Images of the Russian flag, fluttering from scaffolding around the cathedral, were widely circulated on social media Sunday morning.
The Conservative lawmaker John Glen remarked on Twitter, “What a stupid stunt — mocking the serious events sadly experienced in Salisbury last year.”
It was not clear who climbed the scaffolding surrounding the building to put up the flag, which was hastily removed Sunday morning. The authorities have not yet made any comment on the case.
The attempted assassination of Sergei V. Skripal, a former Russian spy, with a military-grade nerve agent on March 4, 2018, upended life in Salisbury for much of last year and soured diplomatic relations between Russia and Britain, with each country expelling some of the other’s diplomats.
Mr. Skripal and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, survived the attack, but Salisbury suffered sprawling collateral damage.
A detective who touched traces of the poison fell ill, and his family had to vacate their home. Two Britons who came across a discarded perfume box that contained a vial of the poison collapsed. One of them, Dawn Sturgess, 44, died.
The Russian authorities, who denied responsibility for the attack on Mr. Skripal, took a defiant, mocking tone throughout the investigation, even when the attackers were revealed to be decorated officers in Russia’s military intelligence service.
In the months since the attackers were identified, the case has repeatedly been the subject of mockery in Russia.
RT, the Russian state-run broadcaster, sent chocolate models of the Salisbury cathedral to other news agencies as a holiday gift.
Last month, a Russian toymaker released a board game called Our Guys in Salisbury, in which players race to move figures resembling the two men charged in the attack, Anatoly Chepiga and Aleksandr Mishkin, to a spray bottle bearing a green skull and crossbones.
Mikhail Bober, who invented the game, said he did it out of exasperation at Western news reports of the crime.
“In some ways, this was an idea of our answer to Western media: Enough already,” he told The Guardian.