The US has accused Russia of conducting a large-scale disinformation campaign on the situation surrounding the coronavirus, AFP reports, citing its own sources.
According to the agency’s sources, thousands of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts linked to Russia have been spreading disinformation about the COVID-19 virus which puts the US in a bad light.
The campaign, which includes a conspiracy theory, was begun by Russia one month ago, the sources claim.
“Russia’s goal is to sow discord and to weaken American institutes and alliances from within, using clandestine and hybrid campaigns,” said Philip Reeker, US Acting Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.
The fakes are being distributed in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German, and include the theory that the US created the virus in order to “wage economic war with China”.
One of the messages of Russia’s disinformation campaign is that the COVID-19 is a “biological weapon developed by the CIA”, AFP’s sources note.
According to recent statistics, more than 77,000 cases have been recorded globally of infection with the new type of coronavirus, COVID-19, in 27 countries, primarily in the Chinese province of Hubei. The virus has already caused more than 2,300 deaths.
The first case was documented in the Chinese city of Wuhan on December 31, 2019.
The World Health Organization considers the new coronavirus less dangerous than its predecessors SARS and MERS. In 80% of cases, the virus does not pose a threat.