Russians Indicted Over Cyberattacks on World Chemical Weapons Agency

 Alexa Lardieri

THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT has accused Russia of targeting the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons through a cyber attack.

Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU, attempted cyber attacks on the watchdog organization for the world's chemical weapons earlier this year, CBS News reported. Ank Bijleveld-Schouten, the Dutch defense minister, announced on Thursday, alongside Britain's ambassador to the Netherlands Peter Wilson, that an attempted attack by Russia on OPCW was thwarted on April 13.

Following the announcement, the U.S. Department of Justice filed criminal charges against seven Russian military intelligence officers for cyber attacks against America and its allies. Those charged are accused of attempting to steal "sensitive information" by hacking U.S. and international anti-doping agencies, spots federations, anti-doping officials and almost 250 athletes from 30 countries, as well as the OPCW and the nuclear energy company Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

A joint statement from Prime Ministers Theresa May of the United Kingdom and Mark Rutte of the Netherlands said the alleged cyber attack "demonstrates the GRU's disregard for the global values and rules that keep us all safe."

The head of the Netherlands' military agency identified four men behind the attack as Russian agents from GRU. Following the alleged attack, the men, who had arrived three days before the failed attack, were immediately expelled from the Netherlands.

According to CBS, during the announcement Dutch Major General Onno Eichelsheim displayed images of the vehicle the men rented that had been discovered near the OPCW headquarters in The Hague. The car was full of computer equipment that had been used in the cyber attack.

The announcement was made just a few hours after Britain's Defense Minister Gavin Williamson, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and other allies called recent cyberattacks by Russia "actions of a pariah state," during a NATO summit. The governments also said NATO would work to expose Moscow's criminal acts.

Following the announcement of the Netherlands' revelations, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO chief, tweeted that "Russia must stop its reckless pattern of behavior to undermine international law & institutions."

In Brussels, he said Russia must also stopf using "force against its neighbors, attempted interference in election processes, and widespread disinformation campaigns," CBS reported

After multiple officials condemned the actions of Russia, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the accusations were "big fantasies."

According to CBS, the Russian ambassador to the Netherlands was ordered to report to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday to be held accountable for the "unacceptable" behavior.

Jeremy Hunt, Britain's secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, said in a statement "Russia needs to understand that if they continue to flout international law they will be exposed, there will be consequences."

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