Coronavirus: Russian fake news wants to sow panic in the West, says EU

Coronavirus: Russian fake news wants to sow panic in the West, says EU
The Kremlin denied the allegations on Wednesday. Credit: Wikipedia

Russia is trying to create "confusion, panic and fear" in the West to worsen the impact of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) with a "significant disinformation campaign," according to a European Union report.

Russian media, driven by the Kremlin, are trying to aggravate the coronavirus crisis by undermining the confidence in Western healthcare systems, according to an internal report of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the diplomatic service of the EU, seen by the Reuters press agency and the British newspaper Financial Times.

"In doing so, they are trying to prevent an effective attempt to tackle the epidemic," the report states. This approach fits in with the broader strategy to undermine European societies, reads the nine-page document drawn up on 16 March.

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The EEAS is aware of almost 80 cases of disinformation about the coronavirus since 22 January, shared in English, Spanish, Italian, German and French through channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. The information claims, among other things, that the coronavirus is man-made and used as a "weapon" by the West.

Italian readers get the message that the authorities cannot control the pandemic, in Spain, "apocalyptic stories" are being spread. According to the disinformation, capitalists want to take advantage of the virus, while Russia, and President Vladimir Putin in particular, are tackling the crisis very well.

Officially, Russia only has a little over 100 cases of people infected with the coronavirus, and no deaths yet. However, the official numbers have been called into question.

The Kremlin denied the allegations on Wednesday, saying they were "unfounded and lacked common sense," according to Reuters.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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