The Russians detained in April in the Netherlands were supposed to test the embassy's computer systems, stated the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Intexfax reports.
“The technical equipment confiscated from the Russian representatives were intended for testing the embassy’s information systems for analyzing the security of computer networks in connection with the frequent attempts of cyber-penetration into Russian state institutions,” the statement reads.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that it was a completely open and routine business trip.
“The daily activities of Russian diplomatic missions abroad are ensured by various state organizations and agencies, including the Russian Defense Ministry. Only specialized and certified bodies are involved in this work,” the office said.
The Ministry also confirmed that the Russians deported from the Netherlands had diplomatic passports.
On Thursday, October 4, the Defense Minister of the Netherland Ank Bijleveld reported that a hacker attack on the computers of OPCW had been prevented. The attack was planned by four Russians. All of them worked in the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU, now the Main Directorate of the General Staff) of the Russian Defense Ministry. In addition, she mentioned their names and dates of birth. All four were deported from the Netherlands in April.
The equipment the alleged GRU agents had used to break into the OPCW systems was seized. The Netherlands believe that the Russians had used the equipment to get access to the files on the investigation of the MH17 crash in the Donbas.
Earlier, the head of the British Foreign Ministry promised to ask the EU to strengthen the sanctions against Russia due to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripals with Novichok nerve paralytic substance.