Russia is looking to exploit America’s struggle to contain the Covid-19 virus ahead of the US presidential election in November, said US officials on Tuesday.
Two Russians who held senior roles in the GRU have been identified in the disinformation scheme.
The GRU is Moscow’s military intelligence service.
The effort to spread false information about the coronavirus pandemic is meant to reach American and Western audiences, as shared by US government officials.
They spoke on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
The information had previously been classified, but officials said it had been downgraded so they could more freely discuss it.
Officials said they were doing so now to sound the alarm about the particular websites and to expose what they say is a clear link between the sites and Russian intelligence.
Between late May and early July, one of the officials said, the websites singled out Tuesday published about 150 articles about the pandemic response.