Disinfo: Russia is groundlessly accused of spreading disinfo about coronavirus


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg have accused Russia and China of “spreading misinformation” about the COVID-19 pandemic. These accusations, as usual, have no specifics, but their possible main goal is to once again advance the thesis of the West “Russians are bad”.


The coronavirus is a relentless and daily topic in pro-Kremlin media, including state-owned outlets. As of 07 April 2020, the East StratCom Task Force had collected over 200 corona-related disinformation cases in the public EUvsDisinfo database since 22 January 2020. These messages are characteristic of the Kremlin’s well-established strategy of using disinformation to amplify divisions, sow distrust and chaos, and exacerbate crisis situations and issues of public concern. Popular disinfo narratives include claims that coronavirus is a biological weapon deployed alternatively by China, the US, the UK or even Russia, that the coronavirus did not break out in Wuhan, China – the US is concealing its true origin, which is in fact the US or US-owned laboratories across the world, that the outbreak has been caused by migrants and migrants are spreading the virus in the EU. For further reading see: EEAS SPECIAL REPORT: Disinformation on the coronavirus – short assessment of the information environment.


  • Reported in: Issue 191
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 01/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, fake news, Conspiracy theory


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Ukrainian authorities do not even have the right to know what kind of research is done by US military laboratories in Ukraine

There are at least 15 U.S. military laboratories in Ukraine. They are engaged in research in the field of biological pathogens. As soon as the coronavirus epidemic began in Ukraine, a petition to check the activities of such laboratories was posted on the President’s website. But there is no answer yet. And it is unlikely that the Ukrainian authorities will be able to give it: under an agreement with the United States, they do not even have the right to be interested in what kind of research is being done in these laboratories.

Conspiracy theory hinting that coronavirus could come from "USA military laboratories" in Ukraine with no evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that the US is building biological laboratories in the Eastern Partnership region. See a similar narrative about Ukraine here. According to the agreement between the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the Ministry of Defence of the United States of America, such virology laboratories in Ukraine are involved in preventing the risks of complex diseases by pathogens and, together with other similar projects, counteracting bioterrorism. At the time of writing this case, the petition mentioned in the article was signed only by 424 people. An electronic petition addressed to the President of Ukraine shall be considered subject to the collection of at least 25,000 signatures of citizens for its support within a maximum of three months from the date of the petition being published.

Totalitarian countries are more effective at fighting coronavirus

As practice shows, totalitarian regimes show greater efficiency in fighting the coronavirus. As the epidemic began, China fought very harshly and quickly overcame the crisis. Now strict restrictions are put in place for entering the country [China] so that the virus does not reenter it from European countries, where the number of infected people increases daily.


A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that democracy is not effective in fighting coronavirus. See another similar case here on how Europe's freedom and democracy are preventing it from fighting the virus. This narrative is in conflict with earlier claims that Western countries are not democracies, and are controlled by globalist elites and shadowy government and not the people.

Moreover, authoritarian/ totalitarian regimes, which tend to control and manipulate information and to limit the freedom of doctors and scientists to engage in international cooperation, are often an obstacle to the timely detection and containment of epidemic outbreaks.

EU refused to help Italy with coronavirus

The European Union refused to provide assistance to Italy in the fight against coronavirus, instead, this was done by Russia. European officials actively discouraged Russian aid for Italy. Europe is no longer united.


Baseless speculation, consistent with a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the imminent collapse of the EU. France has donated 1 million masks to Italy, Germany has donated 7 tons of masks and other protective equipment, helping save lives. Hospitals across Germany are treating critically ill patients from Italy and France, making their own intensive care beds available for Italian and French citizens. Germany has delivered 300 ventilators to Italy. Austria transported 1.5 million masks to Italy, while Czechia offered 10,000 protective suits. The European Commission has approved a €50 million Italian aid scheme to support the production and supply of medical devices, such as ventilators, and personal protection equipment, such as masks, goggles, gowns, and safety suits. The scheme will help Italy provide the necessary medical treatment to those infected while protecting healthcare operators and citizens.

The European Union is supporting the Member States in addressing the crisis and mitigating the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. To cushion the blow to people’s livelihoods and the economy, the European Commission has adopted a comprehensive economic response to the outbreak, applied the full flexibility of the EU fiscal rules, has revised its State Aid rules and proposed to set up a EUR 37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector. To support scientific research into the COVID-19, the European Commission earmarked 47,5 million EUR for shortlisted research projects that can improve epidemiology and public health, including preparedness and response to outbreaks. The EU has also created the first-ever stockpile of medical equipment. Read more about the EU's response here and here.