In this image released and manipulated at source by the Dutch Defense Ministry, Thursday Oct. 4, 2018, four Russian officers of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, GRU, are escorted to their flight after being expelled from the Netherlands on April 13, 2018, for allegedly trying to hack into the U.N. chemical watchdog OPCW's network. The Dutch defense minister on Thursday Oct. 4, 2018, accused Russia's military intelligence unit of attempted cybercrimes targeting the U.N. chemical weapons watchdog and the investigation into the 2014 Malaysian Airlines crash over Ukraine.(Dutch Defense Ministry via AP)

Russia dismisses suspected spy actions as routine Dutch trip

October 08, 2018 - 5:02 am

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says suspected Russian spies accused of trying to hack into the world's chemical weapons watchdog weren't doing anything illegal.

Lavrov on Monday was the first senior Russian official to address last week's accusations by Dutch officials that Russian GRU military intelligence agents tried and failed to hack into the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, Netherlands.

The Netherlands revealed the four men's identities, and media organizations including The Associated Press corroborated these allegations, proving that the men were linked to the GRU.

Lavrov told Russian news agencies there was "nothing secret" about the men's trip to the Netherlands. He called them "specialists" and said they were on a "routine trip."