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

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The European Union on Wednesday said Russian Federation was putting lives at risk with a "significant campaign" to spread false or misleading information about the coronavirus pandemic.

The task force said accounts linked to Russian Federation have been pushing disinformation online about coronavirus in English, Spanish, Italian, German and French.

It states that pro-Kremlin media outlets "have been prominent in spreading disinformation about the coronavirus, with the aim to aggravate the public health crisis in Western countries, specifically by undermining public trust in national health-care systems".

The Kremlin denied the allegations on Wednesday (18 March), saying they were unfounded and lacked common sense.

According to FT, the European Union has recorded "almost 80 cases" of Russian "disinformation efforts", including social media postings by "Russian state-linked false personas and accounts".

One might expect that this Russophobic obsession would decline in the current situation, but as we see it's not happening.

Viral: Penguins Visit Other Animals At Aquarium Shut Due To Coronavirus
Posting a video , the aquarium said: "Some of the penguins went on a field trip to meet other animals at Shedd". The penguins of Shedd Aquarium in Chicago are getting a taste of the tourist life.

Peskov said the reports didn't contain examples nor did it cite specific news outlets, but the document says that East StratCom Task Force, an EEAS group that monitors Russian disinformation, has collected 80 coronavirus-related disinformation cases in its public database since January 22.

The EU executive's foreign policy unit had intensified its monitoring of the issue and identified, exposed and raised awareness about the role played by Russian sources, the spokesman said. 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.

While the West blames Russian Federation for spreading disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic with the aim of sowing distrust in Western public institutions and healthcare systems, an expert has pointed out that Russia's domestic audience may actually be the main target of the disinformation campaign.

"Messages in Spanish (targeting Europe and Latin America) advance apocalyptic stories, blame capitalists for trying to benefit from the virus, and emphasize how well Russian Federation and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin are dealing with the outbreak".

But the EU's internal report said they were still not doing enough to "systematically share data and statistics with researchers and others".

"Pro-Kremlin disinformation messages advance a narrative that Coronavirus is a human creation, weaponised by the West", the report says.

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