Russia’s propaganda machine has been put into overdrive according to French intelligence, which claims that Putin’s army of disinformation warriors are pumping out fake news about France’s bedbug crisis.
Spooks believe the Kremlin is behind a slew of false articles about the extent of the bedbug problem on the other side of the Channel, designed to generate unwanted turbulence ahead of the Paris Olympics next year.
Fears are mounting that Russia is planting stories in European media that Ukrainians are spreading the itchy critters around the continent.
Despite concerns about Russian meddling, experts have conceded that the warming climate and the return of international travel since Covid has seen the blood-sucking pests make a comeback.
Reports of infestations in French cinemas and metros has sparked concerns among travel operators about the spread of the bugs, with UK ferry companies on high alert.
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Such is the worry in France, that a French MP even took a test tube packed with bed bugs into the parliament and earlier this month the Government held an emergency meeting to try and work out how to rid the country of the pests.
The country’s intelligence services strongly suspect the Putin war machine is behind a series of articles from websites purporting to be established French media outlets, but that are actually phoney Russian sites.
News agency, Agence France Presse, identified two such sites, both of which were pro-Russian.
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The first was supposedly from regional publication La Montagne and claimed insecticides used to kill bed bugs were included in a ban on Russian chemicals brought in after the invasion of Ukraine.
Another bogus article from national paper Libération blamed Ukrainian refugees foe the bedbug crisis.
It is reported that there have been 355 “cloned” articles of this kind and the foreign ministry’s own website was also allegedly targeted.
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