NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg talks to journalists during a news conference following a meeting of NATO defence ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, Pool)

Russia accused of targeting chemical weapons watchdog

Dutch allegations came as British officials blamed Russia’s GRU for allegedly “brazen” activities worldwide

The Dutch defence minister on Thursday accused Russia’s military intelligence unit of attempted cybercrimes targeting the international chemical weapons watchdog and the investigation into the 2014 Malaysian Airlines crash over Ukraine.

The Dutch allegations came as British officials blamed Russia’s GRU for allegedly “brazen” activities worldwide the globe and for trying to cover up its alleged participation in the nerve agent poisoning of an ex-spy and the downing of a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine. MH17. Russia has consistently denied involvement in the events.

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. Four Russian intelligence officers were immediately expelled from the Netherlands, she said.

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.”

“We remain very alert about this,” she said.

RELATED: Convicted Canadian spy who sold secrets to Russia granted day parole

Britain’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Peter Wilson, said the GRU would no longer be allowed to act with impunity. Britain blames the secretive military intelligence unit for the nerve agent attack in March on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the English city of Salisbury.

He said Russia’s actions against the Netherlands-based OPCW came as the agency was conducting an independent analysis of the nerve agent used against the Skripals.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dismissed the new accusations Thursday, calling them “big fantasies.”

Earlier, British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson branded a series of global cyberattacks blamed on Russia as the reckless actions of a “pariah state,” saying that the U.K. and its NATO allies would uncover such activities in the future.

“Where Russia acts in an indiscriminate and reckless way, where they have done in terms of these cyberattacks, we will be exposing them,” Williamson told reporters in Brussels at talks with U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and their NATO counterparts.

RELATED: Russia blames Israel for plane shot down by Syrian missile

His remarks came after British and Australian officials said the Russian military intelligence unit GRU is behind a wave of global cybercrimes. Britain’s National Cyber Security Center says four new attacks are associated with the GRU as well as earlier cyberattacks.

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.

“We are not going to be backward leaning. We are going to actually make it clear that where Russia acts, we are going to be exposing that action,” Williamson said.

“This is not the actions of a great power. This is the actions of a pariah state, and we will continue working with allies to isolate them; make them understand they cannot continue to conduct themselves in such a way,” he said.

Earlier, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne issued a joint statement that Australian intelligence agencies agreed that GRU “is responsible for this pattern of malicious cyber activity.” They said Australia wasn’t significantly impacted, but the cyberattacks caused economic damage and disrupted civilian infrastructure in other places.

___

Lorne Cook, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Summerland cannabis shop receives approval in principle

Inspection now required before Green Gaia may sell cannabis

Retrieved body from Okanagan Lake identified as missing kayaker

Zygmunt Janiewicz had been missing since May and was recovered Aug. 10

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Paddleboard festival coming soon to Kalamalka Lake

Wildfire smoke got in the way of last year’s event, but conditions look better this summer

Good morning bats! Salmon Arm office receives surprise visit by winged critters

Pair of bats found huddled together on wall in the sun outside downtown office

Most Read