Salisbury Cathedral
UK

Russian Flag Draped Over Salisbury Cathedral

It comes nearly a year after a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned in the city.

Salisbury Cathedral

A Russian flag has been draped over scaffolding at Salisbury Cathedral, nearly a year on from a nerve agent attack in the city. 

Workmen were spotted removing the flag on Sunday morning after it was reportedly hung overnight.

The stunt was branded as a "slap in the face" by local councillor Jo Broom after former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned with the nerve agent 'Novichok' in March last year.

Forty-four-year-old Dawn Sturgess died after she came into contact with a perfume container used to carry the Novichok in June.

Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

A police inquiry identified two agents from the Russian secret service, the GRU, as suspects in relation to the attack.

The two suspects, known by their aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, were pictured on CCTV in Salisbury the day before the attack.

The pair deny being behind the attack, claiming they were in the city to visit the cathedral.

Around 200 military personnel helped with the clean up.
Around 200 military personnel helped with the clean up.

One month after the attack, Russia's Foreign Minister admitted that relations between the two countries had become "worse than the cold war".

The Dean of Salisbury, the Very Reverend Nicholas Papadopulos, said: "This was a remarkably stupid thing to do and makes light of the huge personal tragedies involved, and the damage done to the city by the unprecedented nerve agent attacks on Salisbury last year."

A Wiltshire Police spokeswoman said: "We are aware of this matter and inquiries are ongoing. It is not a police matter at the moment."

The military was first deployed last April in response to the incident with around 190 personnel making Salisbury safe to the public, completing work near the Maltings area of the city the following month.

In September 2018, UK forces were deployed to decontaminate Mr Skripal's Salisbury home, by which point the military's commitment was around 120 personnel.

Work to remove the roof from Mr Skripal's house began at the start of this year.