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Russian state media has blamed Britain for the global coronavirus pandemic.
Kremlin-backed media has broadcast propaganda which states Covid-19, the new form of coronavirus, was created as a tool for the benefit of the UK.
As Britain continues to fight the pandemic rapidly gripping the world, outrageous slurs in Russian media include that:
The British ‘smeared something in Wuhan’ in the same way that they ‘smear[ed] nerve agent on Skripal’s door handle’;
The pandemic was intentionally timed with Britain’s exit from the EU to enhance its global status;
Porton Down, the Salisbury laboratory at the centre of the Skripal Novichok scandal, ‘patented a vaccine’ for Covid-19;
‘There is a special operation ongoing’ related to the virus whose ‘players are the British-American Alliance’;
Covid-19 was accidentally created as a bioweapon in 2015 at the Pirbright Institute in Woking;
Coronavirus is an attempt to gain access to Chinese markets, because ‘Churchill…said England doesn’t have friends or enemies… only business interests’.
The Big Game roundtable discussion on Covid-19 on Russia’s Channel 1
Igor Nikulin, a microbiologist who allegedly worked at the UN, who made the comments about Britain’s involvement in Coronavirus. Another panellist disagreed with him
The programme shows file images of Porton Down during his comments
Last night Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, commented on the Mail’s findings and said: ‘We take disinformation extremely seriously and have brought together cross-government capabilities to give the most comprehensive picture possible.
‘People must have access to the correct information and we are working with tech firms to […] make sure the most reliable sources are promoted online.’
Britain was first targeted with Russian coronavirus propaganda at the end of January, two days before the first official case was confirmed in this country.
The five pieces of disinformation analysed by the Mail were collated by EUvsDisinfo, a project of the European External Action Service (EEAS), which is funded by the European Union.
Three were broadcast by Sputnik, a Kremlin-funded news platform created by a Presidential decree with the aim to ‘report on the state policy of Russia abroad’. One was broadcast on Channel 1, Russia’s main, state-aligned TV channel, and another was published in the nationalist leaning, pro-Kremlin Svobodnaia Pressa news site.
It comes after ministers announced this week that they had set up a ‘counter-disinformation unit’ amid fears that Russia is spreading fake news about coronavirus to create panic.
The programme. The five pieces of disinformation analysed by the Mail were collated by EUvsDisinfo, a project of the European External Action Service (EEAS), which is funded by the European Union
Last week a government source said the unit had already met to discuss the impact of disinformation linked to the virus.
One British official said creating fears to ‘spread uncertainty’ and undermine the West would be straight out of the ‘Russian toolbox’.
US officials have previously claimed that thousands of Russian-linked social media accounts have launched a coordinated effort to spread alarm about Covid-19.
Last month on Russia’s Channel 1 – the status equivalent of BBC One – a special roundtable discussion on Covid-19 was broadcast on ‘The Big Game’, a political talk-show.
The programme featured Igor Nikulin, billed as a microbiologist and former ‘member of the UN Commission on Biological and Chemical Weapons’.
The programme. It featured Igor Nikulin, billed as a microbiologist and former ‘member of the UN Commission on Biological and Chemical Weapons
The programme. Last month on Russia’s Channel 1 – the status equivalent of BBC One – a special roundtable discussion on Covid-19 was broadcast on ‘The Big Game’, a political talk-show
EUvsDisinfo disputes his links to the UN. Mr Nikulin told the host that he was ‘certain’ coronavirus was a ‘man-made disease’ and said: ‘the Americans and the British have already announced that they already have a vaccine. ‘By the British I mean Porton Down, a well-known facility that has for a long time been working with chemical and biological weapons.’
Questioned by other panellists, Mr Nikulin said: ‘That’s incidentally the same facility that I suspect was behind smearing the nerve agent on Skripal’s door handle. ‘Maybe they smeared something in Wuhan, Hubei, too, such as an escalator – http://www.savethestudent.org/?s=escalator hand rail on the subway – something thousands of people touch daily.’
Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury, Wiltshire, in 2018.
The UK accused Russia of orchestrating the assassination, and Porton Down – the government’s biochemical l
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