Kremlin mouthpieces and Russia-linked social media profiles have started a ‘significant disinformation campaign’ to aggravate the situation amid the coronavirus outbreak, foment distrust and spread panic in the West, a EU document dated by March, 16 reads.
According to the document, the campaign is pushing fake news online in English, Spanish, Italian, German and French.
“The overarching aim of Kremlin disinformation is to aggravate the public health crisis in Western countries…in line with the Kremlin’s broader strategy of attempting to subvert European societies,” Reuters quotes the nine-page report made by the European External Action Service.
In late February, the U.S. Department of State said that the Kremlin might have contributed to fuelling the alarm and whipping up panic amid the coronavirus outbreak.
According to the U.S. side, Russian media launched the disinformation campaign on January 20; a day later, thousands of accounts in English, German, French, Spanish and Italian joined it. The Department of State believes that Russia may have been behind the profiles, since the information provided by them had much in common with other conspiracy theories that had been previously disseminated by pro-Kremlin trolls.
In accordance with their report, the above mentioned accounts published ‘almost identical’ posts about the novel coronavirus, the report highlighted. In particular, they claimed that the United States was waging an ‘economic war with China’ and called the virus a ‘biological weapon produced by the CIA’. Earlier, those accounts spread misinformation about the war in Syria, Yellow Vests protests in France and mass protests in Chile.