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German FM Warns NATO of 'Disinformation' During Coronavirus Crisis

FILE - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas briefs the media during a news conference on current developments in the worldwide spread of the coronavirus at the foreign ministry in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

Germany’s foreign minister Thursday warned NATO members against taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to spread “disinformation,” “propaganda” and “fake news.”

Speaking ahead of a video teleconference of alliance foreign ministers, Heiko Maas said, “There are some who abuse this situation for propaganda purposes” and try to show themselves in a better light.

He urged both the European Union and NATO to take counter measures to ensure available information is “fact-based” and not “fake news.”

Maas did not name specific nations, but the Reuters news agency, citing a document it had reviewed last month, reports the EU claimed Russian media had launched a significant disinformation campaign against the West to generate panic and sow distrust regarding the governmental responses to the crisis.

Reuters reports Moscow denied the allegations.