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The Department of Homeland Security has claimed that Russia, China, and Iran are “amplifying conspiracy theories” about the origins of COVID-19 and messages calling for violence against people of Asian descent.
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov has slammed recent accusations by Washington against Moscow about the latter’s alleged attempts to “sow discord” in American society as the latest effort to shift responsibility for the nation’s domestic woes on foreign countries. Antonov said that the US routinely tries to blame Russia for waging a campaign against American vaccines, the Biden administration’s fight against the pandemic, and even against the mask mandate, which has been widely criticised in the US.
“It feels like some politicians are trying to divert public attention from domestic problems by appointing an external ‘enemy’ who can be blamed for all the troubles of the US […] All problems are lumped together and Russia is blamed for everything”, he said.
The Russian envoy went on to say that claims akin to the one made by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on 13 August are no longer surprising and as usual contain “neither proof, nor even facts”. Antonov added that one of the apparent goals behind these accusations is to keep the level of Russophobia in the country at a high level.
The diplomat strongly rejected the DHS’ claims and argued that instead of making baseless accusations, Moscow and Washington should work together, especially on those issues that cannot be tackled alone – such as terrorism, the pandemic, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, climate change, and global cybersecurity.
“Our position on this issue remains unchanged: Russia does not interfere in the internal affairs of other states […] We reaffirm our readiness to build bilateral relations on a professional, pragmatic and, of course, mutually beneficial basis”, Antonov said.
The DHS claimed in an August 13th bulletin that Russian, Chinese, and Iranian government-linked media outlets had been “repeatedly [amplifying] conspiracy theories” regarding the origins of the coronavirus and the effectiveness of vaccines, as well as calls for violence targeting persons of Asian descent. The department did not specify the evidence these claims were based on in its August document.
President Joe Biden previously claimed in a speech at the office of the director of National Intelligence’s headquarters that Moscow had already started meddling in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections in the US using disinformation. POTUS, however, failed to reveal any supporting evidence, citing only his daily intelligence briefings instead.
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