MOSCOW, April 19. /TASS/. NATO and the European Union are allocating megabucks to spread fake news about Russia, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Monday.
"Just look at the money being allocated, for instance, under the umbrella of those organizations or to those organizations that are operating under the umbrella of NATO and the EU which are supposed to work in counteracting Russian propaganda and promoting disinformation, which is supposedly disseminated at the behest of the Kremlin. No one has ever seen this disinformation, and no one knows what it's about, but the budgets are huge. And we’re not talking about millions, but tens and hundreds of millions of bucks have been earmarked for these purposes. And this money needs to be used," she said in an interview with the 60 Minutes program on the Rossiya-1 TV channel.
According to Zakharova, these funds are used "not to counter disinformation coming from Moscow but to spread disinformation about our country and everything they don’t like."
Thus, in her view, Prague’s actions and what was regularly done by various NATO countries previously can be interpreted as "working off these colossal budgets."
She recalled Russia’s achievements in combating the coronavirus pandemic, with the huge global demand for Russian vaccines. "Indeed, it was a breakthrough. And they wanted to somehow neutralize it in the media space. So, that explains the rest," she stressed. Western society "needed something to counter-balance" its dramatic failure in combating the coronavirus pandemic and organizing the life of their citizens amid the pandemic.
"They can make up nothing but Russia and its alleged aggressive actions, with no actual examples of them," she noted.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and First Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamacek on Saturday announced the expulsion of 18 employees of the Russian Embassy in Prague, who were allegedly "officers of Russian special services."
The move came over the ‘newly-revealed’ circumstance of the 2014 blast at the ammunition depot in the village of Vrbetice. According to reports, "officers of Russia’s military intelligence" were allegedly involved in this incident.
The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed resolute protest over this step taken "under invented and ungrounded pretexts" and declared 20 employees of the Czech Embassy in Moscow personae non gratae.