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The Russians had originally taken a taxi from a GRU base in Moscow to the airport, for which Dutch agents later found a receipt from their hotel. They are accused of being Russian spies.

In some of the strongest language aimed at Moscow since the Cold War, Britain said Russian Federation had become a "pariah state".

Several countries gave detailed information of how Russia's GRU military intelligence agency has allegedly been trying to disrupt worldwide organisations.

Speaking at a press conference, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the reports a "diabolical perfume cocktail" of allegations by someone with a "rich imagination". But the accusations deepen Moscow's isolation at a time when its diplomatic ties with the West have been downgraded over the poisoning of an ex-spy and while it is under US and European Union sanctions over actions in Ukraine.

At the time of the attack the OPCW was investigating the nerve agent poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England.

The hack is being viewed by the various intelligence agencies as retaliation at the agencies that publicly supported a ban on Russian athletes in global sports competitions and because they had condemned Russia's state-sponsored athlete doping program. Other targets include Westinghouse Electric Corp., a nuclear power company, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and a Swiss lab.

While DoJ officials made clear that this case is entirely separate from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, there are overlapping actors involved.

It has agents across the globe and answers directly to the chief of the general staff and the Russian defence minister.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Thursday the "behaviour of the Russians.is absolutely unacceptable".

"This pattern of behavior demonstrates their desire to operate without regard to global law or established norms and to do so with a feeling of impunity and without consequences", U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said. Australia, New Zealand and Canada were among other countries which issued strongly worded statements backing the findings of their allies.

The Kremlin has consistently dismissed official British allegations.

Russia scathingly accused the West of "spy mania", with the Russian foreign office describing the accusations as "propaganda directed against our country".

Britain's National Cyber Security Center said Thursday that four new attacks are associated with the GRU as well as earlier security hacks.

"It's unclear who is supposed to believe these statements accusing Russian citizens of attempting to mount cyber-attacks against the OPCW and trying to obtain data related to the Malaysian flight MH17, as if it is necessary to be near the target of your attack", Moscow said in a statement. The same laptop was also used in Switzerland. They were expelled to Russian Federation.

The Netherlands released copies of their passports which identified them as Alexey Minin, Oleg Sotnikov, Evgenii Serebriakov and Aleksei Morenets, all in their 30s or 40s.

"Today we are indicting seven GRU officers for multiple felonies each, including the use of hacking to spread the personal information of hundreds of anti-doping officials and athletes as part of an effort to distract from Russia's state-sponsored doping program", Sessions said. When they were caught, the agency was investigating a suspected Russian nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal, a former Soviet spy who had defected to the United Kingdom, and his daughter. Russian Federation says the two men were sightseers who visited Skripal's home town twice.

The chemical weapons watchdog had confirmed that Skripal was poisoned by the Soviet-produced nerve agent known as Novichok. Moscow replied with expulsions of Westerners.

Most of the 298 people killed onboard MH17 were Dutch citizens, and investigators say they have strong evidence the Buk missile that downed the plane came from Russian Federation, a charge Russian Federation denies.

2016 USA election and Olympics: According to United States investigators, agents from the GRU's Unit 26165 broke into the Democratic National Committee's emails, wreaking havoc during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. They also gained access to the private network of the US Anti-Doping Agency, as well as FIFA, the global soccer federation. Its old acronym - GRU -is still more widely used.


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