Russia’s foreign ministry on Saturday denied the claim by the US officials that social media accounts linked to Russia are spreading misinformation about coronavirus, international media reported. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation has reportedly branded the accusation as intentionally misleading. Meanwhile, COVID-19 has infected over 77,700 people and killed nearly 2,458 people globally with 17 deaths outside mainland China.
In Russia’s first reaction to the allegation Ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova speaking to a news agency said that it was a ‘deliberately false story’. On February 22, US officials talking to media reporters said that thousands of Russian-linked social media accounts have launched a coordinated effort to spread alarm about COV-19 and disrupted the global efforts to combat the infection.
US state department officials who have constantly been working to combat Russian disinformation said that many thousands of false accounts on Instagram, Facebook and other social media sites who have beeen spreading false information that the United States of America was behind the spread of the deadly epidemic, international media reported. The officials also said that these false personas have beeen writing in multiple languages. One conspiracy theory which has been widely circulated on the internet in several languages is that the US created coronavirus in an attempt to wage an economic war with China. Many other theories have reportedly accused Microsoft founder Bill Gates in the viral outbreak.
Speaking on the issue, Philip Reeker, the acting Assistant Secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia told international media that Russia intends to sow discord and undermine US institutions and alliances from within, including through covert and coercive malign influence campaigns. He added that by spreading disinformation about coronavirus, Russian malign actors are once again choosing to threaten public safety by distracting from the global health response. According to media reports, these accounts, which are allegedly human-operated were previously identified for spreading Russia backed messages on global events and crisis including the movement in Chile and the Syrian war.