U.S. officials say two former agents of Russia’s military intelligence service have been using English-language websites to sow disinformation about the coronavirus in the United States and elsewhere, the Associated Press reports. Three websites in particular—InfoRos.ru, Infobrics.org and OneWorld.press—have published more than 150 articles about both Russia and the U.S.A.’s response to the pandemic ahead of the November presidential election. Two of the leaders behind the sites, identified as Denis Valeryevich Tyurin and Aleksandr Gennadyevich Starunskiy by American intelligence agents, formerly served in the Russian intelligence bureau GRU’s military psychological intelligence division. Alarming headlines included “Russia’s Counter COVID-19 Aid to America Advances Case for Détente” and “Beijing Believes COVID-19 is a Biological Weapon.” During the 2016 election, the Kremlin launched a social media disinformation campaign to sway the election in favor of now-President Donald Trump, according to the intelligence community. Some of the new stories target Trump’s challenger, former vice president Joe Biden, but intelligence officers told the AP the current content appeared more geared towards sowing confusion than a specific political outcome.
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