It comes as the two countries have had flaring tempers over arms treaties and their handling of the pandemic. The most recent treaty that the US has let expire is the Open Skies Treaty, which permits observation flights over each others territories.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday that US attempts to utilise misinformation in a bid to discredit Russian efforts complicate international cooperation on countering the global threat.
She noted: “It is regrettable that instead of cooperation with the international community in the fight against the pandemic the West and the US in particular only adds new irritants into both bilateral relations and the international agenda.
“We call on Washington to review its approach, to reject the negative practices, which only deepen the global problem and we call for cooperation.”
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The two countries have both accused each other of disinformation to harm their responses to the pandemic.
On May 21, Britain’s defence minister Ben Wallace and his US counterpart Mark Esper discussed the need to tackle disinformation coming from Russia and China.
Britain’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement: Wallace and Esper “discussed concerns about Russian and Chinese disinformation and agreed to continue to work together to mitigate the effects of this malign activity.”
The same day, the US Department of State announced a $250,000 grant for “Exposing Russian Health Disinformation,” to which the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, immediately responded that America had shown its “true intentions… during a difficult global pandemic.”
Canadian Philip Howard, who heads the Oxford Internet Institute, said the pandemic has seen an increase in misinformation and disinformation related to COVID-19 being spread by sources related to foreign governments.
Howard told CBC News: “We’ve seen quite a significant uptick in misinformation generated by foreign state actors, particularly from Russia and China.
“In fact, 92 percent of the misinformation from state-backed agencies around the world originates from Russia and China.”
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh reported that roughly 45 percent of tweets related to lifting pandemic restrictions were being posted by “bots” and mirrored messaging from Russia and China.
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The two countries, historically at conflict, have seen some cooperation throughout the pandemic, as according to a a representative of Vyaire Medical company, the second batch of 150
US ventilators will be shipped to Russia on Saturday to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Patrick O’Connor, of Vyaire Medical who manufacture the ventilators, said: “Another 150 LTV 2200 ventilators will be shipped to Russia this Saturday.”
Earlier this month, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) sent to Russia 50 ventilators under an agreement between Washington and Moscow.
In total, Vyaire is providing ventilators to 18 countries through USAID and a related program.
The company’s representative said: “We continue to ramp up our production capabilities in order to meet this unprecedented demand for ventilators and other breathing equipment.”
The move was in response to Russia sending a shipment of medical equipment to the US to help it tackle the coronavirus spread in April.
US President Donald Trump then praised the offer, saying it was a “nice gesture.”
However, the Russian ventilators weren’t used in the US after the model sent caused two hospital fires in Moscow.
The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said in a statement to The Moscow Times: “Thankfully, the flattening curve meant these ventilators were not needed, but they were held in reserve in case the situations in New York and New Jersey worsened.”