BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Germany is the top target of Russian disinformation campaigns in the European Union, a report said on Tuesday, as ties between Moscow and the West hit new lows over the poisoning and jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
The EU’s disinformation watchdog, which is run by the bloc’s External Action Service, said in the report it had documented 700 cases of deliberately fake or misleading reporting that aimed to spread disinformation about Germany since launching a tracking database in late 2015.
That compares to more than 300 cases for France, over 170 for Italy and 40 for Spain, said the watchdog, which was set up after Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and aims to combat what it sees as a deliberate smear campaign by Russia.
“Germany is singled out as the main target for Russian disinformation efforts among European member states,” said the watchdog, which is called EUvsDisinfo.
EUvsDisinfo said the Kremlin was trying to portray Germany as a country driven by “irrational Russophobia” to draw attention away from Russia’s violations of human rights and international law.