Four Russian hackers were caught plotting to hit the chemical weapons watchdog

Mikhail Svetlov via Getty Images               The NCSC has judged the Kremlin is behind the actions of the GRU

Mikhail Svetlov via Getty Images The NCSC has judged the Kremlin is behind the actions of the GRU

Russia scathingly accused the West of "spy mania", while Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly and angrily rejected similar charges.

The hack was thwarted with the aid of British intelligence officials and on Thursday the United Kingdom government accused the Kremlin of violating worldwide laws with "indiscriminate and reckless cyber attacks".

Eichelsheim warned against being naive and considering the Netherlands as relatively safe from Russian cyber attacks.

The Kremlin has consistently dismissed official British allegations.

The Netherlands publicly identified the alleged Russian agents and said the operation was carried out by Russia's GRU military intelligence agency, Dutch officials said.

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

The British government has accused Russian Federation of directing four major cyber-attacks on Western democracies.

John Demers, U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security, confirmed that known attack targets included the OPCW, sports bodies including Federation Internationale de Football Association and the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA), as well as U.S. nuclear energy company Westinghouse.

"This is not the actions of a great power, these are the actions of a pariah state", British Defence Minister Gavin Williamson said.

She added "we remain very alert about this".

In the Dutch case, the Russians allegedly set up a vehicle full of electronic equipment in the auto park of a Marriott hotel next to the OPCW and tried to hack its wifi system and computer passwords. All 298 people on board were killed.

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 U.S. presidential election of the same year.

The coordinated accusations by western governments against Russian Federation painted a startling picture of a global hacking campaign conducted by Moscow.

What have the other countries said?

The hackers leaked medical information and emails stolen from officials from 40 anti-doping and sporting organizations.

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The seven individuals, who the US Justice Department say are GRU officers, have been accused of hacking, wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the United Kingdom was discussing further sanctions against Russian Federation with its allies.

US authorities have charged seven GRU officers - including the four caught in The Hague - in an global hacking rampage said to have targeted more than 250 athletes, a Pennsylvania-based nuclear energy company, a Swiss chemical laboratory and the OPCW.

What were the suspects doing in the Netherlands?

Demers said the operations dating back to 2014 "involved sophisticated, persistent and unauthorised access into the victims' computer networks".

When the men were intercepted they tried to destroy one of the mobile phones they were carrying.

Britain's ambassador to the Netherlands, Peter Wilson, said, Russia's intelligence agency, the GRU, would no longer be allowed to act with impunity. The same laptop was also used in Switzerland. "We intercepted it and expelled the four men from the country".

They were named by the MIVD as hackers Alexei Morenetz and Yevgeny Serebriakov, and support agents Oleg Sotnikov and Alexei Minin.

The foreign office named 12 cyber groups that it said were associated with the GRU.

Dutch Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld made the allegation at a press conference in the Hague, saying Dutch authorities disrupted the attempt by Russian intelligence agents in April.

What was on their computer?

He suggested that America is not affected by diplomatic tension around global evidence that a Russian missile filed by pro-Russian separatist fighters in Ukraine shot down the MH17 plane killing 298 people in July 2014.

Russian Federation has consistently denied involvement in the events.

Much of their activity by the Fancy Bears' website is alleged to have been retaliation against those who revealed Russia's state-sponsored doping programme, whilst propagating a campaign of disinformation to undermine the efforts of the anti-doping movement.

Russian military intelligence "is active here in the Netherlands. where a lot of global organisations are (based)", Eichelsheim said.

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