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Russia's GRU military intelligence was blamed for the failed operation, which allegedly targeted the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and was thwarted by Dutch military intelligence with the help of the UK.

The NCSC also said, with high confidence, that the Kremlin was also responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2016, which also affected the United States presidential election of the same year.

The minister in charge of Canada's cyber agencies says he is "very concerned" about the "untoward" cyberattacks that Russian intelligence officers have been charged with, following a multi-jurisdictional investigation into "malicious" activity that targeted Canadian-based doping agencies and an worldwide chemical weapon organization.

On April 11 they then hired a Citroen C3 and scouted the area around the OPCW in The Hague - all the time being watched by Dutch intelligence.

At the presentation, Major General Eichelsheim showed the antennae, laptops and other equipment he said the men meant to use to breach the OPCW's wifi network.

"It is behaviour that defies proper global legal norms and we with our allies are determined to identify it, call it out, investigate it and, wherever we can, prosecute it".

"That's a hell of a mix for a perfume", she told reporters.

NATO's chief vowed on Thursday to strengthen the alliance's defences against attacks on computer networks that Britain said are directed by Russian military intelligence, also calling on Russia to stop its "reckless" behaviour. Canada serves on the OPCW's executive council.

In Malaysia, the Dutch said, it was used to target the investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014 over territory held by Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow has denied responsibility in the Skripal attack and said the two accused were merely tourists visiting Britain.

The events have a connection to Canada, the statement said, pointing to the 2016 attack on the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency.

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Eric Welling, the FBI's deputy assistant cyber director, claimed the information was used to ruin the reputations of clean athletes by "pedaling a false narrative suggesting such athletes were using banned or performance-enhancing drugs".

The four men, who arrived on diplomatic passports and were met by a Russian embassy employee, were ejected from the Netherlands.

Moscow has issued a series of denials about the incidents.

"The defendants believed they could use their anonymity to act with impunity in their own countries and on the territories of other sovereign nations to undermine global institutions and to distract from their government's own wrongdoing", Demers said.

"The major goals in this brazen propaganda war are to brainwash and scare" global and domestic audiences and distract from NATO's own expanding cyber war activities, the statement said.

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The Netherlands expelled four "Russian agents" after the attempt and said the operation was carried out by Russia's GRU military intelligence agency, officials said.

Three of the defendants were also charged in the hacking of United States persons involved in the 2016 election, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division John Demers said during a news conference, but the current indictment does not arise out of special counsel Robert Mueller's work.

Three of the seven officials that are named in this specific indictment were also named by Mueller as interfering in the 2016 U.S. election.

It claimed the Kremlin was responsible for the theft of emails from a UK-based TV station in 2015, the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2016 and the BadRabbit and World Anti-Doping Agency attacks of 2017.

The GRU, now officially known in Russian Federation by a shorter acronym GU, is also the agency Britain has blamed for the attack on former GRU spy Skripal with a nerve agent sprayed on his door.