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Four Russian officers of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, GRU, are escorted to their flight after being expelled from the Netherlands
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/Dutch Defense Ministry

Russia denies Dutch OPCW hacking claims

October 9, 2018

Russia's defense minister has said the alleged spies were on a "routine trip" to The Hague, where the OPCW is based. Dutch authorities claim four Russian intelligence workers tried to hack the chemical weapons watchdog.


Russia's Foreign Ministry has dismissed claims that Russia tried to hack Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons during a probe into the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.

Dutch authorities on Thursday alleged four men identified as Russian military intelligence workers targeted the OPCW during the investigation into the near-fatal poisoning of Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury in March.

Read more: The curious case of Yulia Skripal's recorded phone call

Dutch defense officials released photos and a timeline of the GRU agents' failed attempt to break into the chemical weapons watchdog using Wi-Fi hacking equipment hidden in a car parked outside a nearby Marriott Hotel.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said the men had been on a "routine trip" to The Hague, where the OPCW is based.

Trip was 'no secret'

"This was a routine trip. They did not hide when they arrived at the airport, checked in at a hotel and visited our embassy," Lavrov said on Monday in comments carried by state news agency TASS.

"There is no secret about the trip of Russian specialists to The Hague in April this year," Lavrov said. "All this looked like a misunderstanding."

Read more: Novichok nerve agents – Russia's dangerous 'new' poison

The Netherlands and Russia have both summoned each other's ambassadors over the allegations, Russian state media reported.

The British government alleged Russian agents committed the attack with a chemical weapon, a claim backed by countries including Germany, France, Canada and the US.

The event saw Britain and dozens of its allies expel Russian diplomats, to which Russia responded with its own expulsions.

law/cmk (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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