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US officials accuse Russia of spreading coronavirus

U.S. Officials Accuse Russia of Spreading Coronavirus Misinformation

WASHINGTON – Russian intelligence services are using a trio of English-language websites to spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, seeking to exploit a crisis, the United States is struggling to contain before the November presidential election, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
Two Russians who have held high-level roles in the Moscow military intelligence service known as the GRU have been identified as being responsible for a disinformation effort aimed at reaching the American and Western public, U.S. government officials said.
They spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak in public.
The information had previously been classified, but authorities said they had downgraded it so they could discuss it more freely.
Authorities said they were doing so now to sound the alarm over particular websites and expose what they say is a clear link between the sites and Russian intelligence.
U.S. officials have identified Russian websites that spread misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.
Between the end of May and the beginning of July, one of the officials said, the selected websites published about 150 articles on the response to the pandemic, including coverage aimed at propping up Russia or denigrating the U.S.
Among the headlines that caught the attention of U.S. officials were “Russia’s Aid Case Against COVID-19 for the United States Moves For Detente,” which suggested that Russia had provided urgent and substantial aid to The U.S. to combat the pandemic, and “Beijing believes that COVID-19 is a biological weapon,” which amplified the Chinese statements.
The executive head of counterintelligence for the U.S. government warned in a rare public statement on Friday about Russia’s continued use of internet trolls to advance its goals.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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