US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused Russia of spreading disinformation about vaccines and eroding trust in anti-COVID drugs.
Delivering remarks after consultations with NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, Blinken outlined threats facing the bloc, including non-military ones.
“These include the use of disinformation campaigns and weaponised corruption to fuel distrust on our democracies, and cyber attacks that target our critical infrastructure and steal intellectual property - from China’s blatant economic coercion of Australia to Russia’s use of disinformation to erode confidence in elections and in safe effective vaccines”, Blinken stated.
The top diplomat and NATO officials earlier in the day discussed Russia, agreeing that the alliance would engage with Moscow to advance their interests, including on arms control agreements, but would "hold Russia to account for its reckless and adversarial actions".
The foreign ministers of NATO member states convened on Tuesday for a two-day in-person meeting in Brussels - their first in-person meeting since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier in March, the US State Department accused Russia of operating on four online platforms they believe are used by Russian intelligence to spread disinformation about western coronavirus vaccines.
The Kremlin refuted the "nonsensical" conclusions, saying the Russian special services have nothing to do with any criticism against vaccines, while recalling negative coverage given by western media about Sputnik V, the world’s first coronavirus vaccine developed by Russia.
On Monday, top US health official and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci commended Sputnik V, calling it "quite effective".