Netherlands says thwarted Russian cyber attack on chemical weapons watchdog

"We are going to actually make it clear that where Russian Federation acts, we are going to be exposing that action", said British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, who branded Russia's actions as those of a "pariah state". The United States said Moscow must be made to pay the price for its actions.

Moscow has issued the latest in a series of denials, but the allegations leveled by Western intelligence agencies, supported by a wealth of surveillance footage and overwhelmingly confirmed by independent reporting, paint a picture of the GRU as an agency that routinely crosses red lines - and is increasingly being caught red-handed.

Russia scathingly accused the West of "spy mania", while Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly and angrily rejected similar charges.

Four of the names match those given recently by Dutch authorities in connection with an alleged GRU attack on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at the Hague.

The United States Department of Justice has charged Russian military intelligence officers with global hacking offences.

It cites attacks on the World Anti-Doping Agency, Ukrainian transport systems, the 2016 U.S. presidential race and others as very likely the work of the GRU.

On Thursday the Foreign Office, Dutch authorities and US Department of Justice disclosed information on a number of malicious cyber activities allegedly conducted by Russian Federation.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov claimed, that by accusing Moscow of cyber attacks, Washington is trying to "save the myth" of Russia's USA election meddling.

"This is not the actions of a great power, these are the actions of a pariah state", British Defence Minister Gavin Williamson said.

US Defence Secretary James Mattis said the West has "a wide variety of responses" available.

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

The indictments have been welcomed by the governments of Britain, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The Kremlin has consistently dismissed official British allegations.

Four of the names in the indictment match those given by Dutch authorities in connection with an alleged GRU cyberoperation against the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an worldwide chemical weapons watchdog organization based in the Netherlands.

Four Russians arrived in the Netherlands on April 10 and were caught three days later with spying equipment at a hotel located next to the OPCW headquarters, the Dutch military intelligence agency said.

"I think the global effort here will be successful in curbing some specific behaviour and may lead to major organisational changes within the Russian espionage apparatus", said Nick Carr, from cyber security firm FireEye's Advanced Practices team.

They have been named as Ivan Segeyevich Yermakov, Aleksei Sergeyevich Morenets, Alexey Valerich Mirin, Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, Evgenii Mikhaylovich Serebriakov and Oleg Mikhaylovich Sotnikov.

According to John Demers, the assistant attorney general for national security, members of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU engaged in a hacking conspiracy to obtain nonpublic health information about athletes and others in the anti-doping files of multiple sports organizations in the USA and overseas.

Three of the seven officials that are named in this specific indictment (Yermakov, Malyshev and Badin) were also named by Mueller as interfering in the 2016 USA election.

"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.

"That's a hell of a mix for a perfume", she told reporters, in an apparently mocking reference to the fact that the Novichok nerve agent used on the Skripals was contained in a fake Nina Ricci perfume bottle.