US Indicts 7 Russians In International 'Hacking Spree'

Russian President Vladimir Putin's warning that the US is undermining its own currency with its sanctions regime has apparently fallen on deaf ears. 

To wit, the DOJ announced indictments against seven members of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence unit on Thursday and accused Russia of embarking on a worldwide hacking spree targeting Fifa, anti-doping agencies and international chemical weapons watchdog the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, per the Financial Times.

News of the indictments followed reports that the Dutch security services has expelled four Russians in April over a plot targeting the OPCW, the organization that has been investigating the attacks into former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal, per the BBC.


British Prime Minister Theresa May and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the conspiracy demonstrated "the GRU's disregard for global values and rules that keep us all safe".

"By revealing this Russian action, we send out a clear message: Russia must stop this," said Dutch Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten.

Three of the Russians who were indicted were also charged in July by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election in 2016.

"They evince some of the same methods of computer intrusion and the same overarching Russian strategic goal: to pursue its interests through illegal influence and disinformation operations aimed at muddying or altering perceptions of the truth," he said in prepared remarks.

Per the FT, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK was discussing further sanctions against Russia with its allies.

Russia is yet to comment officially. However, its foreign ministry said one would follow shortly after it dismissed the allegations as "Western spy mania....picking up pace".

According to ABC, Dutch officials said the four suspects had diplomatic passports. Two were IT experts and two were support agents, officials said.

Moscow denied the allegations, however ABC said surveillance footage and other investigative evidence gathered by the US paint the GRU as an organization that "routinely crosses red lines". Still, it's unlikely that these men will ever be apprehended due to Russia's policy of non-extradition, meaning that these indictments, like the last two rounds, are all bark, and no bite.