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Moscow blasts expulsion of Russian citizens by Netherlands as 'provocation'

October 08, 2018, 20:42 UTC+3

Such steps by The Hague are causing irreparable damage to bilateral relations, the ministry stressed

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© Sergey Savostianov/TASS

MOSCOW, October 8. /TASS/. Russia has sent a note to the Dutch Ambassador to Russia Renee Jones-Bos, in which it stated that the expulsion of Russian citizens from the Netherlands in April is a provocation related to Moscow’s position in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Russian Foreign Ministry informed on Monday.

"In response to the note by the Dutch Foreign Ministry received on October 4, a response note was delivered to Renee Jones-Bos. The note stresses that the Russian side considers the detainment and expulsion of Russian citizens as a provocation related to Russia’s line in the OPCW, aimed against the politicization of this influential international structure’s activities and the attachment of attributive functions in violation of the CWC (the Chemical Weapons Convention - TASS) and the UN Charter," the ministry stated.

"Such steps by The Hague are causing irreparable damage to the bilateral relations, and all responsibility for this fully lies with the Dutch side," the ministry stressed.

On October 3, Russian Ambassador to the Netherlands and Russia’s envoy to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin received a note of protest due to the media reports on Russia’s alleged involvement in cyber-attacks. Netherlands’ Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld claimed at a news conference on October 4 that Dutch military intelligence and security services had foiled an attack by Russian hackers against the OPCW. She claimed that four Russians - Alexey Morenets, Yevgeny Serebryakov, Oleg Sotnikov and Alexey Minin - were involved in the incident. Bijleveld added that all four worked for the Main Directorate (formerly the Main Intelligence Directorate, the GRU) of Russia’s General Staff. According to her version of the events, the equipment confiscated from them was evidence they had tried to get access to information about the Malaysian MH17 flight disaster in Ukraine.

The Dutch Defense Ministry claims that the cyber-attack was carried out on April 13. All four Russian suspects were expelled on the same day. Russia has denied involvement in the cyber-attacks.

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