Disinfo: Russia is groundlessly accused of spreading disinfo about coronavirus

Summary

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”.

Disproof

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.

publication/media

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

Disproof

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.

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.

Disproof

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.

Disproof

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.