Soon after a train derailed and spilled toxic chemicals in Ohio last month, anonymous pro-Russian accounts started spreading misleading claims and anti-American propaganda about it on Twitter, using Elon Musk’s new verification system to expand their reach while creating the illusion of credibility.
The accounts, which parroted Kremlin talking points on myriad topics, claimed without evidence that authorities in Ohio were lying about the true impact of the chemical spill. The accounts spread fearmongering posts that preyed on legitimate concerns about pollution and health effects and compared the response to the derailment with America’s support for Ukraine following its invasion by Russia.
Another pro-Russian account recently tried to pick an online argument with Ukraine’s defense department, posting photos of documents that it claimed came from the Wagner Group, a private military company owned by a Yevgeny Prigozhin, a key Putin ally. Prigozhin operates troll farms that have targeted U.S. social media users in the past. Last fall he boasted of his efforts to meddle with American democracy.
A separate Twitter account claiming to represent Wagner actively uses the site to recruit fighters.
“ Gentlemen, we have interfered, are interfering and will interfere,” Prigozhin said last fall on the eve of the 2022 midterm elections in the U.S. “Carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do,” Prigozhin said at the time.
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Sunday, March 19, 2023
Pro-Russian Twitter Accounts
David Klepper at AP: