Russian officials on Wednesday rejected accusations that Moscow is spreading disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., slamming them as “conspiracy theories” and a “persistent phobia.”
U.S. officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Russian intelligence services were using a trio of English-language websites to spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, seeking to exploit a crisis that America is struggling to contain ahead of the presidential election in November.
The three websites published about 150 articles about the pandemic response, including coverage aimed either at propping up Russia or denigrating the U.S. between late May and early July, one of the officials said.
One of the identified websites, One World, posted a response Wednesday, denouncing as “categorically false” allegations that it worked for the Russian military intelligence service or was involved in propaganda or meddling.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday called the allegations “some kind of a persistent phobia.”
“Russian media actively work to cover the situation with the coronavirus. Indeed, when it comes to Russia, it is going through this difficult time better than many other countries, albeit not without problems. Indeed, all the media point to considerable problems that the United States are experiencing during this period,” Peskov told reporters.
“So in this case if anyone talks about some kind of disinformation, it is some kind of persistent phobia, and there is no need to blame objective and quality work of the media,” the official said.
Lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of the Russian parliament, said Wednesday that the accusations are either “new conspiracy theories” invented by journalists or “yet another hoax of American security services.”
Kosachev added that “so far none of the conspiracy theories” aired in Western media “has been confirmed in real life.”