A Russian company has produced a children’s board game in which players retrace Russian assassins’ route to the nerve agent attack Salisbury, prompting anger from residents.
Called “Our Guys in Salisbury,” a picture of the game board shows a brightly-coloured step-by-step path across Europe. Stops include Geneva, Paris, Amsterdam and London, all of them European cities that the two suspects visited before allegedly poisoning Sergei Skripal.
The finish line is in Salisbury, which is represented by a cathedral and men in bright green hazmat suits.
In keeping with the spy theme, the box features a picture of two men in fake glasses and moustaches.
The Telegraph could not find the game on Tuesday in the Moscow store listed on the seller’s website. A saleswoman said the shop sold games by the brand but the Salisbury one “probably sold out already”.
One of the game’s developers told state media on Wednesday it had created it in response to Western condemnation over the Salisbury attack.
"We decided to make our humorous answer for our Western neighbours by creating a board game, where our compatriots walk freely in Europe and explore the sights," said Mikhail Bober.
GalaMart, the retail company that listed “Our Guys in Salisbury” on its website, confirmed to The Telegraph that it sells such a game.
British police charged Russian GRU agents Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov with deploying the nerve agent Novichok that poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal and killed Dawn Sturgess.
The two men, whose real names were later revealed to be Anatoly Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, travelled to Europe numerous times in the two years leading up to the assassination attempt, The Telegraph reported.
Conservative Salisbury councillor Jo Broom said the game represented a new level of flippancy about the poisonings, adding: "I’m shocked and saddened and I think it’s quite a kick in the teeth for the people of Salisbury when we’re working so hard to get back on track and do lots of positive things for the city.
"I am surprised by it. I think this is a step beyond isn’t it, really? It’s taking it to another level."
“Our Guys in Salisbury” comes in a pack with five others—“Zooworld,” “Tank Battle,” “Big Races,” “The Unbelievable Cosmic Journey” and “World of Fairytales”—that can be purchased for a mere 49 roubles, less than £1.
The game is produced under the brand name Igrolend and was discovered on the site of the Yekaterinburg-based retailer GalaMart, as well as its bulk supply arm GalaOpt.
When The Telegraph phoned a company called Igroland, the development director, who would give his name only as Alexander, insisted his firm bore no relation to Igrolend, although he admitted it sold games produced under the Igrolend brand.
Alexander said he he didn’t know if his company sold the “Our Guys in Salisbury” game. He said the idea was humorous and brushed off questions about whether it was proper to sell a game based on the circumstances of a deadly poisoning.
“Thousands die every day. It doesn’t make any difference if one has the name Skripal and another has the name Petrov or Ivanov,” he said. “People make money on lots of things. Better to ask an arms maker how Kalashnikov is doing, how American or Israeli defence firms are doing, you’d do better to find that out. It’s just funny.”
Other Russian firms have previously attempted to capitalise on the Salisbury by producing t-shirts and even a craft beer under the name “Novichok”.
Additional reporting contributed by Juliana Lizer