Russia is likely behind the recent bedbug scare in France, French intelligence authorities are now claiming.
Headlines regarding the blood-sucking parasites have been dominating the country’s headlines in recent weeks, even overshadowing the usual subject of complaints: President Emmanuel Macron.
According to a report by the RMC radio station, the surge in coverage of the issue may not have accurately reflected reality, adding that the Russians may have deployed a disinformation campaign to stir fear.
Intelligence agents have spoken of a so-called “doppelganger” operation they said they believe is being operated by Russia, which involves the circulation of images showing fake article headlines from major news publications.
Recent examples include one said to have come from daily paper La Montagne blaming the bedbug outbreak on anti-Russian sanctions causing a shortage of parasite-killing chemicals.
Another article supposedly originating from fellow-daily Libération blamed Ukrainian refugees for the epidemic.
France’s health minister has urged the public not to panic as both France and Belgium succumb to a plague of blood-sucking bedbugs. https://t.co/FIyyHW03sy
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) October 3, 2023
Neither article is said to have actually been published by the two media organisations.
Questions are also being raised as to how bad the bedbug situation really is on the ground in France, with some exterminators calling for composure regarding the outbreak.
“People need to calm down or they’ll end up putting us back in lockdown at this rate!” one owner of an anti-pest company said.
Acknowledging that he had seen about a 50 per cent rise in his business in recent weeks, the owner went on to speculate that the panic could be an attempt to put France in a bad light worldwide.
“It’s as if someone was seeking to damage the reputation of the country before the Olympics,” he said.
Western governments have reacted to the mysterious death on August 23 of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Russia’s infamous Wagner Group mercenaries. https://t.co/MIZ4rAq5Am
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 24, 2023