The surreal mismatch between how last year's Novichok nerve agent attack in the quiet English city of Salisbury is viewed in Russia and how it's viewed in the West has taken another turn — now a Russian toymaker has made a board game mocking the incident.
"Our Guys in Salisbury" has players visit the same cities that the two Russian GRU agents passed through until they reach the finish line in Salisbury which is depicted with its cathedral and two men with hazardous material or "hazmat" suits.
The board is also decorated with a bottle that features a skull and crossbones, seemingly a reference to the perfume bottle which contained Novichok and which killed 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess months after the attack when she tragically sprayed it on herself.
The two agents, Anatoliy Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, are also depicted in one corner. They're suspected of carrying out the attempt to kill former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal by smearing the nerve agent on his front door. It left him, his daughter Yulia and a police officer severely ill but after weeks of hospital treatment they all made partial recoveries.
Mikhail Bober, who works for Igroland toymakers in Moscow, told Britain's Guardian newspaper that the extensive media coverage of the attack in the West had prompted him to design the game. He said he'd grown tired of it but added that the game is also supposed to "connect Russia with Europe".
The attack is regarded by the Russian government and its supporters as anti-Russian propaganda made up by Britain and has been widely ridiculed. At new year, the state TV channel RT jokingly gave out Salisbury cathedral chocolates as gifts to news agencies in Moscow.
On Monday, the EU placed the two agents and the head and deputy head of the GRU on a sanctions list. In a statement it said Chepiga and Mishgin "possessed, transported and then, during the weekend of 4 March 2018, in Salisbury, used a toxic nerve agent."
Moscow insists the men are innocent and have never been GRU agents. In an interview with RT the two said they were food supplement salesmen who visited Salisbury as tourists because they wanted to see its famous cathedral. Those claims have been widely ridiculed.