Russia flag stunt in Salisbury branded 'a slap in the face'

The flag appeared overnight on the north face of the cathedral Credit: Carol Byrne

An enormous Russian flag has been removed from Salisbury cathedral after it appeared on scaffolding overnight.

It was attached to the north face of the historic building which is currently being renovated.

The stunt was branded a "slap in the face" by Conservative councillor Jo Broom.

Mr Broom said: "My initial reaction was just one of shock and sadness that someone would choose to do this at any time, but particularly as we're leading up to the first anniversary of the incident and the city is very much trying to be positive.

"Residents will just be very upset, it's just a little bit of a slap in the face."

After the flag was removed, Salisbury MP John Glen said: "Thankfully it has been removed now - what a stupid stunt - mocking the serious events sadly experienced in Salisbury last year."

The flag could be seen for miles around, sparking criticism from some local people, who feel that Russian involvement in last year's nerve agent attack is not a laughing matter.

Lee Martin is a paramedic in the city who was called out to the victims of the secondary - and fatal- poisoning.

He wrote on Twitter "After everything this city has gone through it does not need this."

Credit: Carol Byrne

The flag has since been removed. The cathedral has not commented further at this stage.

Yulia and Sergei Skripal

Two Russian nationals have been accused of travelling to the UK to try to murder Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia with Novichok.

Evidence gathered by intelligence agencies led the Government to conclude that the men were officers from the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU.

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

Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess Credit: Wiltshire Police

Dawn Sturgess, 44, fell ill in Amesbury months after the incident and died in hospital in July after coming into contact with a perfume bottle believed to have been used in the attack on the Skripals and then discarded.

Her partner, Charlie Rowley, 45, was also exposed to the same nerve agent but was treated and discharged.