The Netherlands has expelled four Russian intelligence officers who allegedly targeted the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The incident, which was thwarted with the help of British intelligence officials, came after the Sandworm cybercrime unit of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU had attempted unsuccessfully to hack the UK Foreign Office in March and the Porton Down chemical weapons facility in April.
On April 13, the four Russian intelligence allegedly parked a car next to the office of the watchdog. Their vehicle contained high-tech equipment that was able to hack into the organization’s WiFi network.
Dutch Major General Onno Eichelsheim, stated in a media conference, that the Russians “were not on vacation” and one of the men had €20,000 ($23,000) in cash.
Eichelsheim said that the Russian ambassador to the Netherlands has been summoned to the country’s Foreign Ministry.
He claimed the alleged attack was linked to the OPCW investigation into the poisoning of Sergey and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.
Britain’s Ambassador to the Netherlands Peter Wilson, who was present at the media conference, said that the Russians also targeted the UK Foreign Office and Porton Down Defense and Science Laboratory.
The Russian Foreign Ministry described the Dutch allegations as “spy mania” towards Moscow.