MOSCOW, October 8. /TASS/. There is no secret that Russian specialists, who were accused of espionage, visited The Hague this April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Monday.
"There is no secret about the trip of Russian specialists to The Hague in April this year," Lavrov said. "This was a routine trip. They did not hide when they arrived at the airport, checked in at a hotel and visited our Embassy."
Lavrov said the Russians were detained and were not allowed to contact with the Embassy in the Netherlands, they were asked to leave the country, and "all this looked like a misunderstanding."
Neither Moscow nor The Hague made any "demarches" in connection with this incident in April, he said. However, six months after Dutch media reports leaked information that these individuals had been involved in cyber espionage. Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Dutch ambassador to comment on the leak. On October 3, Russia’s ambassador was invited to the Dutch Foreign Ministry and received a note of protest in connection with the incident.
"The answer to the ambassador’s question about particular case files, which should be studied, was: you will know everything at a news conference, which the Defense Ministry would give. That’s the whole story."
Netherlands’ Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld claimed at a news conference on October 4 that Dutch military intelligence and security services had allegedly foiled an attack by Russian hackers against the global chemical weapons watchdog, the OPCW. She claimed that four Russians - Alexey Morenets, Yevgeny Serebryakov, Oleg Sotnikov and Alexey Minin - were involved in the incident. Bijleveld claimed 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.