Dutch authorities accuse Russian Federation of targeting OPCW, MH17 investigation

Dutch authorities accuse Russian Federation of targeting OPCW, MH17 investigation

The United States said Moscow must be made to pay the price for its actions.

Moscow denied what its Foreign Ministry spokeswoman called a "diabolical perfume cocktail" of allegations by someone with a "rich imagination".

But the accusations deepen Moscow's isolation at a time when its diplomatic ties with the West have been downgraded over the poisoning of an ex-spy and while it is under United States and European Union sanctions over actions in Ukraine.

Canada joined North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies on Thursday in blaming the Russian military for new cyberattacks that targeted the global chemical weapons agency and the investigation into the mysterious 2014 crash of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine.

Dutch agents decided not to arrest four Russians accused of plotting a cyber-attack on the world's chemical weapons watchdog because it was "not a criminal inquiry", Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Friday.

The address listed, Komsomolsky Prospekt 20, is said to be the address of military unit 26165 of the GRU, which happens to be the team cited in the US Justice Department indictment on Thursday of seven GRU officers for their role in a hacking campaign to discredit anti-doping organizations critical of Russian athletes.

The charges filed Thursday include wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy.

It has agents across the globe and answers directly to the chief of the general staff and the Russian defence minister.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who was meeting with U.S. allies in Europe, said Russian Federation must pay a price for its "worldwide pattern of reckless and irresponsible behavior".

This pattern of behaviour demonstrates their desire to operate without regard to global law or established norms and to do so with a feeling of impunity and without consequences.

"The actions of these seven hackers, all working as officials for the Russian government, were criminal, retaliatory, and damaging to innocent victims and the United States' economy, as well as to world organizations", said said Federal Bureau of Investigation director Christopher Wray.

Wilson said the group had also carried out attacks on the UK Foreign Office and Porton Down Defence and Science Laboratory in the wake of the Skripal poisoning. Instead, they were expelled to Russian Federation.

The other three men charged were named as Ivan Yermakov, 32, Artem Malyshev, 30, and Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, 27. Reuters was not immediately able to contact them.

"Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), a Russian military intelligence organization, knowingly engages in significant activities that undermine cybersecurity on behalf of the Russian government", the U.S. Treasury said in March.

The Dutch say it's linked to the hack of a laptop belonging to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Montreal, which had uncovered evidence that Russian athletes were using illegal drugs to boost their performance.

The GRU's actions are reckless and indiscriminate: they try to undermine and interfere in elections in other countries.

May added, "We will uphold the rules-based worldwide system, and defend global institutions from those that seek to do them harm". Moscow replied with expulsions of Westerners. Last month British police named and published images of two alleged GRU suspects. Norway arrested Mikhail Bochkaryov on September 21 as he was about to fly out of the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly and angrily rejected similar charges.

Britain's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Australian government pointed the blame directly at alleged GRU front operations such as Fancy Bear and APT 28.

The US is especially concerned about hackers interfering with November's midterm elections.

Related Articles