Still looking for a bogeyman? Moscow slams US State Dept after it posts $250,000 grant to ‘expose Russian health disinformation’
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Instead of casting grudges aside to fight the coronavirus, anti-Russia elements in the US are striving to make the Kremlin a scapegoat, Moscow has said, decrying the new US grant to “expose Russian health disinformation.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a rebuke to the US Department of State over its newly-published grant notice on Friday. The grant “opportunity” will see a hefty sum of money – some $250,000 – awarded to “an organization with experience in counter Russian disinformation, analysis and programming,” which will have to “produce a report on Russian and Soviet health-related disinformation campaigns” under the watchful eye of “subject matter experts” from the State Department’ Russia Directorate. The prospective contractors will have till June 20 to apply for the grant.
The ministry said that such a move at a time when all countries should be pooling efforts to combat the Covid-19 outbreak has revealed the true colors of those in charge of the US State Department’s day-to-day operations.
The ministry argued that the State Department staffers seem to be “working their own program,” paying little attention to the signals coming from US President Donald Trump, who has recently greenlighted a shipment of 200 ventilators to Russia, the first 50 of which arrived in Moscow on Thursday. The life-saving equipment is part of a $5.6 million “humanitarian donation” the US has earmarked to Russia. Moscow has said it’s “grateful” for the help, having itself sent a planeload of medical supplies and equipment, including face masks and ventilators to coronavirus-hit New York in early April.
Hailing the mutual assistance, the State Department also struck a reconciliatory tone, with a spokesperson telling CNBC on Tuesday that the US “seeks a better relationship with Russia on many fronts,” adding that both countries “will no doubt” provide humanitarian assistance to each other again if such a need arises.
The mixed signals coming from the US show that “powerful Russophobes” still wield much clout both in Washington and within the American government, “never ceasing to engage in the destructive activity,” the foreign ministry said.
The likely targets of the future “counter-disinformation” campaign will be the Russian media, such as RT and Sputnik, the ministry predicted. While the Russian outlets have been repeatedly accused of spreading fake news over the pandemic by mainstream media in the West, the allegations have so far rung hollow, with a recent report by a UK watchdog pointing out that such claims against RT are based on bad methodology.
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