For days, Russia’s main national TV channels were practically silent on the attempt to kill former spy Sergei Skripal with a nerve agent, but this changed in Wednesday’s main evening bulletins.
The comment by Kirill Kleimenov – the presenter on government-controlled Channel One’s flagship Vremya news programme – sounded like a veiled, mocking threat to anyone considering becoming a double agent for Britain.
“I don’t wish death on anyone, but for purely educational purposes, I have a warning for anyone who dreams of such a career,” he said.
“The profession of a traitor is one of the most dangerous in the world,” Kleimenov said, adding that few who had chosen it had lived to a ripe old age.
Alcoholism, drug addiction, stress and depression resulting in heart attacks and even suicide were the “professional illnesses of a traitor”, according to Kleimenov.
‘Maybe it’s the climate’
He also had a second piece of advice for such “traitors or those who simply hate their country in their free time”: “Don’t choose Britain as a place to live.”