West accuses Russian Federation of global cyber-plots

Main building of the OPCW in The Hague

The OPCW is the world's foremost chemical weapons watchdog, and in June granted itself new powers to assign blame for attacks despite protests by Russian Federation.

He accused North Atlantic Treaty Organisation states of making up claims about Russia as part of a propaganda campaign, and said Russians would not "swallow these provocations".

It also concluded that the GRU was behind hacks and leaks of U.S. Democratic National Committee e-mails that embarrassed President Donald Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton in the weeks before the 2016 election, among other high-profile and damaging attacks.

Dutch Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld said that the GRU's alleged hacking attempts on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons took place in April and were disrupted by authorities.

The OPCW was at the time probing the nerve agent poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal in the English town of Salisbury, and an alleged chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma by the Moscow-backed regime in Damascus.

This shows Moscow - and other European capitals - what can be done when they are targeted by what officials describe as malign Russian activities.

The GRU was nearly certainly behind those attacks, Britain said, as well as attacks on Ukraine's Kyiv metro and Odessa airport, Russia's central bank, two Russian media outlets, and an unidentified small UK-based television station. But in the case of the battle between MI6 and the GRU, a decision has been made in Whitehall to highlight and isolate the Russian military intelligence arm, aiming to turn it from a source of Vladimir Putin's power to an impediment.

Russian Federation on Thursday dismissed the accusations as "fantasies".

Seven Russian intelligence officers were indicted for hacking the computers of anti-doping sports agencies and other organizations around the world, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Britain's Defence Minister Gavin Williamson stands in the main chamber during the second day of a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at a gathering of NATO defence ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018.

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"Basically, the Russians got caught with their equipment, with people who were doing it and they have to pay the piper, they are going to have to be held to account".

An official from the Russian embassy escorted them to The Hague, he said.

John Demers, U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security, said the hacking targets included the OPCW, global sports bodies as well as the U.S.nuclear energy company Westinghouse.

Russian spies have been accused of involvement in a series of cyber-plots across the globe, leading the U.S. to level charges against seven agents.

Authorities in The Netherlands named four GRU operatives yesterday suspected of attempting to hack into the OPCW's network while it was investigating the Salisbury spy poisoning. They are Aleksei Morenets, 41; Evgenii Serebriakov, 37; Ivan Yermakov, 32; Artem Malyshev, 30; Dmitriy Badin, 27.

The U.S. will announce indictments against several Russian intelligence officers on Thursday, the Dutch ministry said.

The Dutch government accused Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU, of targeting the world's chemical weapons watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, through a foiled cyber operation. Four Russian intelligence officers were immediately expelled from the Netherlands, she said.

"Clearly there is evidence that very untoward behaviour by the Russians has been at play here, totally outside the norm of civilized behaviour among countries and we're standing with our allies... to call out that illicit behaviour when we see it", Goodale said.

On Thursday, Australian and British spies endorsed the American intelligence community's reported attribution of the catastrophic June 2017 cyberattack on Ukraine to the GRU.

According to a secret White House assessment recently cited by Wired, the attack caused $10bn worth of damage worldwide.

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