3 indicted Russians previously charged by Robert Mueller

3 indicted Russians previously charged by Robert Mueller

NATO's chief Jens Stoltenberg has also warned Russian Federation to stop "reckless" cyber attacks, backing the British and Dutch governments.

A Russian military intelligence (GRU) spying operation on the body responsible for investigating chemical weapons was thwarted by Dutch and United Kingdom authorities in April of this year.

"This was a criminal conspiracy that caused real harm to real victims", Demers said in a press conference.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries apparently produce new accusations against Russia in turns, a member of the Russian Senate's Defense and Security Committee, Franz Klintsevich believes, and now Amsterdam's turn has come.

In other words, officials hope that Russian Federation will know that if it carries out attacks like this again, there will be a price to be paid of further worldwide opprobrium.

GRU stands for the Main Intelligence Directorate, Russia's military intelligence agency which is one of Moscow's three spy agencies along with the FSB security service and the SVR foreign intelligence agency.

It follows new accusations from Britain that Russian military intelligence, the GRU, directed a host of cyber attacks aimed at undermining Western democracies.

They were named in them as Alekski Morenets, described as a cyber operator, Evgenii Serebriakov, also a cyber operator, Oleg Soktnikov, described as humint (human intelligence) support and Alexey Minin, also humint support. Between 2016 and 2018 they also exchanged emails and private messages with some 186 reporters "in an apparent attempt to amplify the exposure and effect of their message", the Justice Department said in a news release.

They arrived in the country on April 10 on diplomatic passports with nearly identical serial numbers.

Officials believe the scale of that joint action against Russian Federation took the Kremlin by surprise and put them on the back foot.

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The head of Dutch counterintelligence confirmed that the OPCW was working on the Skripal investigation at the time but added that investigators "have not been able to prove that they targeted the OPCW because of the Skripal investigation".

"In those instances where conspirators purchased hacking infrastructure, payments were made using a complex web of transactions involving operational accounts in fictitious names and typically utilized cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, to further mask their identities and conduct".

The team of Russians allegedly tried to compromise and disrupt computers at the OPCW building.

Three of the defendants were also charged in the hacking of USA persons involved in the 2016 election, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division John Demers said during a news conference, but the current indictment does not arise out of special counsel Robert Mueller's work.

Dutch authorities searched a rental vehicle belonging to the men and found laptops with incriminating web history, maps, phones, cash, and an antenna that they determined had been pointed at the OPCW.

The men hired a auto filled with specialised equipment, including an antenna which was hidden under a coat in the boot, to try and hack the wifi network of the OPCW. They were carrying €20,000 and United States $20,000 in cash, took their rubbish from their hotel room when they left and tried to destroy their mobile phones when they were intercepted.

As well as the equipment in the auto, a laptop seized from the suspects was found to have been used in Brazil, Switzerland and Malaysia. Russian Federation has denied any involvement in the plane's destruction.

The four officers had entered the Netherlands on diplomatic passports, according to the Dutch defense ministry, which said the British intelligence service had worked with it to disrupt the operation.

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

Speaking about Russia's hacking attempts into the MH17 crash investigation, she said: "We have been aware of the interest of Russian intelligence services in this investigation and have taken appropriate measures".

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