MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In April, NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence (NATO StratCom COE) Director Janis Sarts spoke to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and claimed that Merkel is set to become the prime target for Russian "propaganda" due to Germany's key role in ensuring European stability. Sarts said he expected RT and Sputnik to step up their activity in exposing European problems ahead of the German federal election in September.
"I will wait until NATO accuses us of hacking elections in Limpopo. I am sure they will do," Simonyan said, referring to a recent prank of US Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who was convinced that Russia had "hacked" the election system of a fictitious country called Limpopo.
Russian-based media outlets broadcasting in Europe and the United States have been facing a barrage of accusations by Western officials about allegedly spreading fake news and attempting to influence public life. In the United States, intelligence agencies have claimed Russia has used its media outlets to swing the outcome of US November presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, but have not provided any evidence to back their claims. Russian officials, such as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, have repeatedly stated that Moscow refrains from meddling in internal affairs of foreign countries.