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The indictment said that the Russian agents targeted global anti-doping monitors in the wake of revelations that Russia had engaged in a state-backed doping effort to help its athletes during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

British and Dutch officials have accused the Russian intelligence agency GRU of being behind cyberattacks on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the investigation into a Malaysian airplane that was shot down over Ukraine.

Dutch authorities disclosed on Thursday how - with the help of United Kingdom intelligence - they thwarted an attempted cyber attack on the headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.

"This cyber operation against the OPCW is unacceptable", said Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld.

The Dutch authorities released CCTV imagery of the four men arriving at Schipol Airport as well photographs of their passports.

"They were clearly not here on holiday", the head of the Dutch intelligence service said on Thursday.

It said they affected people in many countries and cost national economies millions of pounds.

Specialized equipment was found operating in a rental vehicle that was parked near the OPCW's building in The Hague.

British authorities allege that a GRU operation conducted "malign activity" when it tried to collect information about the investigation into the 2014 downing of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over war-ravaged eastern Ukraine by targeting Malaysian government institutions, including the Attorney General's office and Malaysian police.

Prosecutors say the Russians also targeted a Pennsylvania-based nuclear energy company and an global organisation that was investigating chemical weapons in Syria and the poisoning of a former GRU officer.

Instead, the Dutch and British revealed in a press conference on Thursday, the alleged attempt was busted on 13 April and the four men were thrown out of the Netherlands.

On April 11, they then hired a Citroen C3 and scouted the area around the OPCW - all the time being watched by Dutch intelligence.

When that failed, a GRU "close access" team was sent from Russian Federation to the Netherlands to try to penetrate their cyber defences from close quarters.

The Russians then on April 13 set up in the Marriott Hotel next door to the OPCW and took photos, while parking the vehicle at the hotel with the boot facing the OPCW, he said.

When Dutch agents swooped on April 13 they found electronic equipment in the boot of the vehicle to intercept the OPCW's wifi and log in codes, including an antenna hidden in the back of the auto and facing the chemical weapons watchdog.

"When you've got countries acting contrary to the worldwide rules of law, the global community has got to call it out and that's what we've done", Mr Morrison told reporters in Tasmania. "It was a successful operation".

The EU has condemned Russia after several cyber attacks across the globe have been linked to the Russian military intelligence service, GRU.

They hired a Citroen C3 vehicle on April 11 and were seen to be scouting the area close by, all the while they were being monitored by the Dutch intelligence services.

After an unsuccessful remote attack, four Russian intelligence officers reportedly traveled to The Hague as part of a "cleanup" unit.

"Washington is desperately trying to save the old legend of "Russian interference into the 2016 US Presidential election", he said.

The men entered the country on Russian diplomatic passports on April 10 and were caught red-handed on April 13 with a auto full of electronic equipment in the Marriott Hotel next to the OPCW.

A Russian foreign ministry representative told AFP separately: "Western spy mania is gathering pace".

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.

The National Cyber Security Centre said the GRU was behind attacks on Russian and Ukrainian companies, the U.S. Democratic Party and a small British TV network.

The NCSC says that hackers from the GRU have operated using various names, including APT28, BlackEnergy Actors, Fancy Bear, and Tsar Team.

The announcement could further strain relations between Russia and Britain that began to deteriorate with the 2006 assassination of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko with polonium in London.

"We'll continue working with allies to isolate, make them understand they can not continue to conduct themselves in such a way".


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