Kremlin Calls US Vaccine Disinformation Claims ‘Absurd’

An employee of the Russian Direct Investment Fund works with a coronavirus vaccine at the Nikolai Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Russia, on Aug. 6, 2020. (Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/Russian Direct Investment Fund via AP, File)

MOSCOW (AFP) — Moscow said Tuesday that claims it was spearheading a disinformation campaign against U.S.-made coronavirus vaccines to boost its own homegrown jab were “absurd and groundless.”

The comments come a day after Washington said Russian intelligence was behind four websites involved in a campaign to undermine U.S.-made vaccines, accusing Russia of putting lives at risk. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the allegations “absurd and groundless.”

“Russia has never taken part and is not going to take part in such information campaigns against other vaccines,” Peskov told reporters.

On the contrary, he said, Russia was cooperating with foreign vaccine producers “to make a more effective product.”

“We’ve always been against politicizing any issues related to the vaccine in any way,” he said.

Peskov added that once jabs are tested and approved “they should be produced as much as possible to save the entire world from the coronavirus and save as many human lives as possible.”

Putin has boasted that Russia has developed the world’s best vaccines against the coronavirus, insisting last week they were better than the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs.

The Global Engagement Center — an arm of the State Department whose activities include monitoring foreign propaganda — made the claims of Russian disinformation on Monday. 

The four online platforms spread “disinformation about two of the vaccines that have now been approved by the FDA in this country,” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, referring to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

U.S. intelligence has long suspected Russia in disinformation campaigns on health, including spreading the myth in the 1980s that U.S. scientists created the HIV virus that causes AIDS.

© Agence France-Presse

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