Russia accused of spreading coronavirus disinformation
A Russian agency came to the attention of experts &# 171; InfoRos&# 187; and the sites it administers
Russian intelligence services use three English-language sites to spread misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, seeking to exploit the crisis America is trying to contain ahead of the presidential elections in November.
US officials told the Associated Press.
Previously, this information was classified, but then its status was changed so that they could discuss it more freely..
Officials pointed to a specific Russian-registered InfoRos news agency that operates several sites – InfoRos.ru, Infobrics.org and OneWorld.press – that use the pandemic to achieve anti-Western goals and spread disinformation..
Between late May and early July, the sites published about 150 articles on the response to the pandemic, including materials aimed at supporting Russia or denigrating the United States, one official said..
One of the headlines that caught the attention of American officials, “Russian aid to America in the fight against COVID-19 contributes to the cause of detente”, preceded the article, which claimed that Russia provided the United States with urgent and substantial assistance in the fight against the pandemic.
Another story, “Beijing believes COVID-19 is a biological weapon,” reinforced China’s claims.
Two people in senior positions in the InfoRos news agency, identified on Tuesday as Denis Valerievich Tyurin and Alexander Gennadievich Starunsky, previously served in the GRU unit specializing in military psychological intelligence, and maintain in-depth contacts with him, officials said.
Links of InfoRos and OneWorld with Russian state structures have previously attracted the attention of European experts in the field of disinformation.
In 2019, an EU disinformation campaigning group called OneWorld “a new addition to the pantheon of Moscow disinformation publications.”.
The working group noted that OneWorld content often mechanically duplicates the Russian state agenda on a number of issues, including the war in Syria..
A report published in June by the Brussels-based non-governmental organization DisinfoLab explores the links of InfoRos and OneWorld with Russian military intelligence. Researchers have identified technical clues linking their sites to Russia and have identified some financial links between InfoRos and the government.
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