08:36 GMT09 August 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The German authorities are unable to clearly justify the inclusion of the Sputnik news agency into the country’s annual intelligence reports, Sputnik Deutschland chief Sergey Feoktistov said on Thursday.

    Earlier in the day, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and counter-intelligence chief Thomas Haldenwang presented the 388-page 2019 Report on the Protection of the Constitution, which says that RT Deutsch and Sputnik play a "central role" in exerting pro-Russian influence in Germany.

    According to Feoktistov, both in 2018 and 2019, Sputnik was mentioned in the report’s section on espionage and other subversive activities.

    "Last year, we sent an official request for clarification and justification of Sputnik Deutschland’s inclusion in this section. Because Sputnik Deutschland certainly does not conduct any espionage, intelligence or subversive activities on the country’s soil. We have not received any response," Feoktistov said.

    At a press conference on Thursday, a Sputnik Deutschland correspondent asked Haldenwang to explain Berlin’s stance.

    "The only thing he could say was that we cover protests in Berlin and inflate the numbers of participants," Feoktistov said.

    The journalist went on to argue that the news agency has always "used only the official figures of either the police or the organizers."

    Over the past several years, Russian media, especially RT and Sputnik, have faced significant pressure in the United States and the European Union over the alleged spread of propaganda and fake news. RT and Sputnik refute the accusations as a campaign against alternative viewpoints, saying that no credible proof of them spreading fake news has ever been provided.

    Sputnik, Berlin, Germany
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