Russia deploying coronavirus disinformation to sow panic in West, EU document says

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Ascend
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Russian media have deployed a “significant disinformation campaign” against the West to worsen the impact of the coronavirus, generate panic and sow distrust, according to a European Union document seen by Reuters.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-h...-idUSKBN21518F

The EU document said the Russian campaign, pushing fake news online in English, Spanish, Italian, German and French, uses contradictory, confusing and malicious reports to make it harder for the EU to communicate its response to the pandemic.

“A significant disinformation campaign by Russian state media and pro-Kremlin outlets regarding COVID-19 is ongoing,” said the nine-page internal document, dated March 16, using the name of the disease that can be caused by the coronavirus.

“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,” the document produced by the EU’s foreign policy arm, the European External Action Service, said.

An EU database has recorded almost 80 cases of disinformation about coronavirus since Jan. 22, it said, noting Russian efforts to amplify Iranian accusations online, cited without evidence, that coronavirus was a U.S. biological weapon.
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Napp
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This would seem rather a case of trying to push their own problems on to someone else, whether or not the Russians are playing silly buggers seems to be beside the point considering how many domestic hoodlums are spreading rubbish about the bug.
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Occitanie
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Russia really is the greatest bogeyman that ever existed.

Brexit won? Russia.

Trump won? Russia.

Coronavirus misinformation? Must be Russia.

Trump 2020? ****ing Russians.
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StriderHort
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Yeah, everyone else and their dog has an expert pack of lies to trot out, I don't see why the Russians should be left out.
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Ascend
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Russia goes after coronavirus in latest health misinformation push

In the U.S. specifically, a top State Department official told Congress in testimony reported by The Washington Post last week that Russia is behind “swarms of online, false personas” spreading misinformation about the epidemic on social media.

The official, Lea Gabrielle, the coordinator of the government’s Global Engagement Center said the “entire ecosystem of Russian disinformation is at play” and that Russia is aiming to “take advantage of a health crisis, where people are terrified worldwide, to try to advance their priorities,” per the Post.
And a report from the Digital Forensic Research Lab finds that Russia has been planting narratives that place blame for the coronavirus on the U.S.

- "Narratives blaming the United States for the coronavirus outbreak first appeared on fringe pro-Kremlin outlets, and are spreading to well-established Kremlin media, Russian politicians, and social media platforms including YouTube and VKontakte (VK)," according to the report.

- "Fringe pro-Kremlin outlets have accused the United States of using bioweapons against China, claiming the U.S. is using economic and military tools to pressure its competitor China," it says.
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YUSLP
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Fantastic stuff.

I hope it works.

Vodka!
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ghostwalker
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Don't think we need to worry about Russia destablising the West. Trump and Johnson, supported by their media lackies are doing a pretty good job of it themselves. "Four legs good, two legs better. Four legs good, two legs better...." (repeat ad nauseum)
Last edited by ghostwalker; 2 weeks ago
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mmmmmmh
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Why is Russia blamed for everything these days?😂
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Ascend
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(Original post by Occitanie)
Russia really is the greatest bogeyman that ever existed.

Brexit won? Russia.

Trump won? Russia.

Coronavirus misinformation? Must be Russia.

Trump 2020? ****ing Russians.
(Original post by mmmmmmh)
Why is Russia blamed for everything these days?😂
Acknowledging Russia's disinformation campaigns =/= blaming them for everything.
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Napp
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Do they actually have any evidence of this aside from hearsay?
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Ascend
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(Original post by Napp)
Do they actually have any evidence of this aside from hearsay?
As per the article:

'An EU database has recorded almost 80 cases of disinformation about coronavirus since Jan. 22, it said, noting Russian efforts to amplify Iranian accusations online, cited without evidence, that coronavirus was a U.S. biological weapon.'

--

'The EU document cited examples from Lithuania to Ukraine, including false claims that a U.S. soldier deployed to Lithuania was infected and hospitalized. It said that on social media, Russian state-funded, Spanish-language RT Spanish was the 12th most popular news source on coronavirus between January and mid-March, based on the amount of news shared on social media.'

--

'The EEAS report cited riots at the end of February in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic now seeking to join the EU and NATO, as an example of the consequences of such disinformation.

It said a fake letter purporting to be from the Ukrainian health ministry falsely stated here were five coronavirus cases in the country. Ukrainian authorities say the letter was created outside Ukraine, the EU report said.

“Pro-Kremlin disinformation messages advance a narrative that coronavirus is a human creation, weaponized by the West,” said the report, first cited by the Financial Times.

It quoted fake news created by Russia in Italy - which is suffering the world’s second most deadly outbreak of coronavirus - alleging that the 27-nation EU was unable to effectively deal with the pandemic, despite a series of collective measures taken by governments in recent days.

The EEAS has also shared information with Slovakia over the spread of fake news accusing the country’s prime minister, Peter Pellegrini, of being infected with the virus and saying he may have passed on the infection to others at recent summits.'
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Andrew97
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Given the way our own media is reporting it, I won’t think the Russians would even need to do this.
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Ascend
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(Original post by Andrew97)
Given the way our own media is reporting it, I won’t think the Russians would even need to do this.
Force of habit, I guess.
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Napp
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(Original post by Ascend)
As per the article:

'An EU database has recorded almost 80 cases of disinformation about coronavirus since Jan. 22, it said, noting Russian efforts to amplify Iranian accusations online, cited without evidence, that coronavirus was a U.S. biological weapon.'

--

'The EU document cited examples from Lithuania to Ukraine, including false claims that a U.S. soldier deployed to Lithuania was infected and hospitalized. It said that on social media, Russian state-funded, Spanish-language RT Spanish was the 12th most popular news source on coronavirus between January and mid-March, based on the amount of news shared on social media.'

--

'The EEAS report cited riots at the end of February in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic now seeking to join the EU and NATO, as an example of the consequences of such disinformation.

It said a fake letter purporting to be from the Ukrainian health ministry falsely stated here were five coronavirus cases in the country. Ukrainian authorities say the letter was created outside Ukraine, the EU report said.

“Pro-Kremlin disinformation messages advance a narrative that coronavirus is a human creation, weaponized by the West,” said the report, first cited by the Financial Times.

It quoted fake news created by Russia in Italy - which is suffering the world’s second most deadly outbreak of coronavirus - alleging that the 27-nation EU was unable to effectively deal with the pandemic, despite a series of collective measures taken by governments in recent days.

The EEAS has also shared information with Slovakia over the spread of fake news accusing the country’s prime minister, Peter Pellegrini, of being infected with the virus and saying he may have passed on the infection to others at recent summits.'
I was referring to the yanks allegations... You'll pardon me for taking anything that they say particularly seriously given their history..
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Ascend
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(Original post by Napp)
I was referring to the yanks allegations... You'll pardon me for taking anything that they say particularly seriously given their history..
Oh, my bad, I went to the previous link. The claim from the US side seems to build on this report by the Digital Forensic Research Lab:

Bioweapons, secret labs, and the CIA: pro-Kremlin actors blame the U.S. for coronavirus outbreak

Fringe pro-Kremlin outlets have accused the United States of using bioweapons against China, claiming the U.S. is using economic and military tools to pressure its competitor China. The economic version of the narrative, published by Topcor.ru, suggested that the ongoing trade war with China has cost the U.S. billions of dollars, and the latter would benefit from the virus undermining the former’s economy.

An alternate version of the narrative, disseminated by Katushya.org, states that the Chinese military is claiming the virus was artificially produced in U.S. laboratories with the goal of breaking China from within. The fringe outlet suggested that the outbreak is essentially a U.S. bioweaponry reconnaissance operation with the goal of testing the capabilities of Chinese biological weapons defenses.

Additional outlets referred to statements by pro-Kremlin military expert Igor Nikulin on TV Zvezda, who claimed that the appearance of the virus looked like sabotage. According to Nikulin, the United States actively researches lethal disease vectors to test them within a population while simultaneously developing cures for them. Similar narratives have begun to appear on more mainstream pro-Kremlin outlets, including Pravda TV and Izvestia.
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Ascend
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"Additional outlets referred to statements by pro-Kremlin military expert Igor Nikulin on TV Zvezda, who claimed that the appearance of the virus looked like sabotage. According to Nikulin, the United States actively researches lethal disease vectors to test them within a population while simultaneously developing cures for them."

I can't help but think that this is a projected fear on the part of totalitarians who likely have such bioweapon programs in place.
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Napp
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(Original post by Ascend)
Oh, my bad, I went to the previous link. The claim from the US side seems to build on this report by the Digital Forensic Research Lab:

Bioweapons, secret labs, and the CIA: pro-Kremlin actors blame the U.S. for coronavirus outbreak
(Original post by Ascend)
"Additional outlets referred to statements by pro-Kremlin military expert Igor Nikulin on TV Zvezda, who claimed that the appearance of the virus looked like sabotage. According to Nikulin, the United States actively researches lethal disease vectors to test them within a population while simultaneously developing cures for them."

I can't help but think that this is a projected fear on the part of totalitarians who likely have such bioweapon programs in place.
Going from these it would seem that these are odd ball conspiracy theorists going after media attention as opposed to the government itself stirring the pot...
Although fair point on them having their own bioweapons programme
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Ascend
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This is just... *chef kiss*

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Napp
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(Original post by Ascend)
This is just... *chef kiss*

Whilst of course this is pot calling the kettle black, and a rather egregious instance of it, are they particularly wrong? The US is not exactly known as the most friendly of places for journalists to operate, ironically enough.
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username5224582
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(Original post by Occitanie)
Russia really is the greatest bogeyman that ever existed.

Brexit won? Russia.

Trump won? Russia.

Coronavirus misinformation? Must be Russia.

Trump 2020? ****ing Russians.
I live in Russia
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