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Bad taste: The board game takes players through the cities allegedly visited by the GRU agents on their way to commit the Salisbury Novichok poisonings.

One would expect it to be fake news but it isn’t – a board game based on the Novichok attack in Salisbury last year is on sale in Russia.

The game, ‘Our Guys in Salisbury’, developed by manufacturer Igroland, features the cities visited by the GRU agents accused of carrying out the attack.

Players start in Moscow and pass through Minsk, Tel Aviv, Geneva, Amsterdam, London and Paris before arriving at Salisbury and the finish line, which is decorated with images of the cathedral and two figures in hazmat suits.

Elsewhere on the board is a spray bottle bearing a green skull and crossbones – an apparent reference to the perfume bottle that British police said was used to carry the Novichok nerve agent.

In another corner are illustrations resembling suspects Anatoliy Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, who were placed under sanctions by the EU on Monday for their suspected role in the poisonings.

The Russian government denies the allegation but whether it is true or not, this game is an insult.

Even though Sergei and Yulia Skripal survived the attack, Novichok allegedly killed Amesbury resident Dawn Sturgess and poisoned Charlie Rowley and such a death should never be considered suitable material for a game.

Developer Mikhail Bober’s words ring hollow. According to The Guardian, he says it was an attempt to tell the West that its claims of Russian responsibility weren’t funny: “In some way, this was an idea of our answer to western media: enough already. To us it’s not funny any more. It’s sad. This needs to stop.

“We wanted to support our countrymen who might be offended by this situation … a lot of things are said and a lot of it without any proof.

He said: “We didn’t want to offend anyone.” Well, he has.

It is reasonable to point out that the evidence supporting the claim against Russia was tenuous – This Site has said much the same.

But contrary to Gospodin Bober’s claim, a board game about the event can be seen as glorifying the attempted murders – and will.

Rather than denying Russian responsibility, it seems to confirm it.

It is throwing fuel on the fire, rather than damping down the flames.

And I wonder whether the Russian government had a hand in it.

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