Oh dear, Angela! Merkel accused of falling for Russian propaganda in damning EU report

Germany in talks with Russia for Sputnik vaccine says expert

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Brussels’ foreign affairs arm has claimed Vladimir Putin is using the Sputnik V jab to create fresh divisions within the bloc. Pro-Kremlin media outlets were used to openly criticise how democracies responded to the pandemic, according to a report by the EU’s External Action Service. It also accuses Moscow of exploiting tensions between Britain and the bloc over jab supplies as part of a “zero-sum game logic” to wreak havoc.

The EU’s disinformation task force also claimed China was part of a plot by rogue states to intensify their fake news campaigns against Brussels.

Their report accuses them of seeking to “undermine trust in Western-made vaccines, EU institutions and Western/European vaccination strategies”.

It says foreign actors were using their television and newspaper propaganda arms, as well as social media, to target governments and scientists.

“Both Russia and China are using state-controlled media, networks of proxy media outlets and social media, including official diplomatic social media accounts, to achieve these goals,” the report concluded.

The EEAS said: “Since the beginning of 2021 state-sponsored disinformation intensified.

“Vaccine diplomacy has fully replaced mask diplomacy.”

The report accuses Russia and China of deliberately pushing misleading information about the effectiveness of Western jabs.

It said: “Both Chinese official channels and pro-Kremlin media have amplified content on alleged side effects of the western vaccines, misrepresenting and sensationalising international media reports.

“Selective highlighting of the potential vaccine side effects and disregarding contextual information or ongoing research helps to present the western vaccines as unsafe, has the potential to fuel anti-vaccination moods in Europe and beyond.”

The report will come as a sharp warning to those EU nations seeking to buy the Sputnik V jab.

Germany, France and Italy have all expressed interest in the Russian-made vaccine and are open to splitting with the EU’s immunisation scheme in order to deal directly with Moscow.

Hungary is the only European member state currently rolling out Sputnik.

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Budapest has also been using the Chinese-made Sinopharm as part of its jabs programme.

Both the EU and Nato have regularly hit out at Russia for trying to destabilise the West.

The report noted that Pro-Kremlin media outlets had deliberately compared the UK’s vaccines success to slower rates in Europe to highlight “vaccine chaos engulfing the EU”.

The report added: “Taken together, such narratives indicate an effort to sow division within the EU.”

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Sputnik V vaccine financier discusses support from EU leaders

Both China and Russia have hit back at claims by Brussels that they’re seeking to destabilise the bloc by spreading fake news.

China’s EU mission said: “A disinformation report that has no factual basis is in itself an example of disinformation.”

And Russia’s sovereign wealth fund responsible for marketing Sputnik V also lashed out.

It said: “We will continue to fight disinformation campaign against Sputnik V in the interests of protecting lives around the world and avoiding vaccine monopoly that some vaccine producers may strive for.”

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