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After the Skripal poisoning, the West agreed with Britain's assessment that Russian military intelligence was to blame and launched the biggest expulsion of Russian spies working under diplomatic cover since the height of the Cold War.Russian President Vladimir Putin, himself a former KGB spy, said on Wednesday that Skripal, a GRU officer who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain's MI6 foreign spy service, was a "scumbag" who had betrayed Russia.Britain said the GRU was associated with a host of hackers including APT 28, Fancy Bear, Sofacy, Pawnstorm, Sednit, CyberCaliphate, Cyber Berkut, Voodoo Bear and BlackEnergy Actors."This pattern of behavior demonstrates their desire to operate without regard to worldwide law or established norms and to do so with a feeling of impunity and without consequences", Hunt said.The United States sanctioned GRU officers including its chief, Igor Korobov, in 2016 and 2018 for attempted interference in the 2016 us election and cyberattacks.Australia and New Zealand backed the United Kingdom's findings on the GRU."Cyberspace is not the Wild West". The activities in Malaysia were related to the investigation into the 2014 shooting down of flight MH17 over Ukraine, Bijleveld added.

GRU operatives are also said to be behind the attempted hacking of the World Anti-Doping Agency in Switzerland past year.

Responding to the claims made on Thursday, the Russian Embassy in London said they were "irresponsible" and that the United Kingdom was imparting "crude disinformation".

"It is yet another element of the anti-Russian campaign by the UK Government".

Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB spy, said on Wednesday that Skripal, a GRU officer who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain's MI6 foreign spy service, was a "scumbag" who had betrayed Russia.

They allegedly travelled to the Netherlands on diplomatic passports and arrived in the country on April 10.

In the rear of the auto they had set up specialist equipment for doing this, and parked the vehicle in the auto park of a nearby Marriot hotel.

At the time of the attack the OPCW was investigating the nerve agent poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England. The men then attempted to destroy smartphones and take their garbage with them to not leave behind any DNA evidence.

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

"We intercepted it and expelled the four men from the country".

'The Dutch cabinet is very concerned that the OPCW was the target of an interception by the Russian military intelligence service, ' Bijleveld said.

The NCSC has "high confidence" that the GRU was "almost certainly" responsible for the 2017 attacks, as well as others including the infamous targeting of the US Democratic Party ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Whitehall sources said.

The two leaders said Thursday they will "defend global institutions from those that seek do to them harm".

Britain and the Netherlands have accused Russian Federation of running a global campaign of cyberattacks to undermine democracies.

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.

"We will be discussing with our allies what further sanctions should be imposed", he said.

"Normally we don't reveal this type of counter-intelligence operation".

The Justice Department on Thursday announced criminal charges against seven Russian intelligence officers, accusing them in a sprawling indictment of hacking, wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering as part of an effort to distract from Russia's state-sponsored doping program.

The Dutch spy chief said the Russians had originally taken a taxi from a GRU base in Moscow to the airport, and some of their mobile phones were activated in Moscow near the agency's headquarters.