Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told TASS on Saturday: “It is a deliberate fake.” Zakharova was responding to media reports claiming that the US Department of State believes that Russia is behind the proliferation of disinformation about the Coronavirus outbreak.
France Presse on Saturday cited unnamed US Department of State officials stating that US diplomats had been tasked to offset a disinformation campaign allegedly unleashed on social networks, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The agency’s sources maintained that corresponding posts appear on accounts of users “linked with Russia”.
US Acting Assistant Secretary of State Philip Reeker commented on these reports, saying that some “Russian malign actors” were allegedly behind the disinformation campaign fueling Coronavirus fears and threatening “public safety by distracting from the global health response”.
A pneumonia outbreak caused by the COVID-19 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV) was reported in China’s city of Wuhan, a large trade and industrial center with a population of 12 million, in late December.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has since declared the Coronavirus outbreak in China a global health emergency, characterizing it as an epidemic with multiple foci.
"It is a deliberate fake," @mfa_Russia Spokeswoman Maria #Zakharova said, commenting on media reports that the @StateDept thinks that @Russia is behind proliferation of misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak:
— Russia in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) February 22, 2020