Taxi company confirms authenticity of receipt taken from GRU agent in Netherlands

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Dutch Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld said that the GRU's alleged hacking attempts on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons took place in April and were disrupted by authorities. Villagers in Russia's Far East have said they recognize one of Britain's suspects in the nerve agent attack as a hometown hero and a decorated military officer.

Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told a news briefing that the accusations were the product of someone with a "rich imagination".

Moscow accused the West of "spy mania" after Dutch security services said they had thwarted a Russian cyber attack on the OPCW.

The British and Dutch accusations were unveiled as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense ministers gathered in Brussels to present a united front to their Cold War-era foe.

Officials said it was hard to say what the "full intention" of the agents were, but it was suggested that disrupting the investigation into the chemical weapons attacks in Salisbury and Syria "could well have been their motivation".

The rap sheet was lengthened today when it blamed the country for the BadRabbit ransomware attack of October 2017, the hack on anti-doping agency WADA and the hack and leak of documents against the Democratic National Committee during the U.S. presidential election campaign two years ago.

It was also reported that the two agents had been planning to travel on to the OPCW-registered laboratory in Spiez near Berne. They were expelled to Russian Federation.

The four men expelled by the Netherlands are included in the list of seven men the U.S. announced indictments against. Reuters was not immediately able to contact them.

At the end of December, the Obama administration expels 35 Russian diplomats and shuts down two Russian intelligence compounds as the Kremlin continues to deny a roll in the summer's cyber attacks.

They hired a auto and parked it in the vehicle park of the Marriot hotel in The Hague, which is next to the OPCW office, to hack into the OPCW's wifi network, Major General Onno Eichelsheim from the Dutch MIVD intelligence service said.

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Days after WADA released its report, the officers prepared to hack the networks of WADA and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USASA) among others from Russian Federation, the indictment alleges. "They try to undermine and interfere in elections in other countries; they are even prepared to damage Russian companies and Russian citizens", adding the attacks had caused millions of British pounds in damage to national economies.

"We remain very alert about this", she said.

The British government on Thursday accused Russia's GRU military intelligence agency of "reckless and indiscriminate cyberattacks", blaming it for everything from the hacking of top athletes' medical data to disruptions on the Kiev subway system to attacks on the email accounts of the Democratic National Committee.

Skripal, his daughter and a police officer fell seriously ill; a woman later died after her partner found the poison in a discarded perfume bottle.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt blamed Moscow for a series of cyber attacks.

The Justice department alleged one of the Russian intelligence officers performed reconnaissance of Westinghouse Electric Co's networks and personnel. Moscow says he is a Russian parliamentary staff member and has demanded Oslo lift the "absurd charges".

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has identified that a number of cyber actors widely known to have been conducting cyber attacks around the world are, in fact, the GRU.

In July, Mr. Mueller indicted 12 GRU officers, accusing them of interfering in the USA polls in 2016.

Australia and New Zealand supported Britain's assessment of the GRU and pledged to improve cooperation on responses to cyber attacks.

"The worldwide community-including Russia-has agreed that global law and norms of responsible state behavior apply in cyberspace", Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.