Huge Russian flag unfurled at Salisbury Cathedral

Huge Russian flag unfurled at Salisbury Cathedral

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 8:40am 17th February 2019. (Updated at 8:37am 18th February 2019)

It had been pinned to the top of the scaffolding on North front of the building - but has now been taken down.

The flag was spotted at first light yesterday morning (Sunday February 17th).

It's believed it was put up overnight, possibly by someone climbing the scaffolding there.

Salisbury Cathedral Russian Flag Feb 2019
The large flag is visible on that side of the Cathedral building

Salisbury Cathedral has released a statement about what happened, from the Dean of Salisbury, the Very Revd Nicholas Papadopulos:

“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.”

Salisbury Cathedral Russian Flag Feb 2019
Salisbury Cathedral staff went up onto the scaffolding to remove the flag

Colin Stephens posted on the Spire FM Facebook page to suggest the flag may have been put up early this morning: 

"I actually think I might have seen the person that put it up as I was walking past the cathedral at around 06.30 on my way home from work."

Salisbury Cathedral Russian Flag February 2019
Cathedral works staff have been up onto the scaffolding to take the flag down - thanks to Carol Byrne for the picture

Salisbury's MP John Glen has tweeted his reaction to this too: 

"What a stupid stunt - mocking the serious events sadly experienced in Salisbury last year."

A Wiltshire Police spokesperson said:

“We are aware of this matter and we're making enquiries, including viewing CCTV in the area.”

WHY WOULD A FLAG GO UP AT SALISBURY CATHEDRAL?

It's almost a year since former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unwell, after having been exposed to the nerve agent novichok.

Salisbury police officer DS Nick Bailey was also left seriously ill after coming into contact with it at the Skripal's house in Christie Miller Road.

Four months after that, in July 2018, Dawn Sturgess from Durrington sadly died after spraying the substance onto her skin, believing it to be perfume.

Her partner, Charlie Rowley, had found a bottle containing novichok in a bin and given it to Dawn.

He was also hospitalised after the exposure, but has since recovered.

Salisbury Spy Suspects Fisherton Street
Two suspects named by the Metropolitan Police in connection with the investigation were seen on CCTV in Salisbury on the day of the first nerve agent incident

The suspects claimed on Russian state TV that they'd visited Salisbury to visit the 'world famous cathedral and its 123 metre spire'.

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