Russia has accused the United States of launching an anti-Russian messaging campaign across social media over the war in Ukraine, saying the move resembles the World War Two Nazi propaganda machine run by Joseph Goebbels.
Sergei Naryshkin, head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), made the accusation in a statement on Wednesday, saying Washington was encouraging the spread of fake information on the popular Telegram messaging service in an attempt to "discredit" and "dehumanize" Russian President Vladimir Putin in the eyes of Russians.
"Their actions have a lot in common with the traditions of the Third Reich's ministry of public education and propaganda and its head Joseph Goebbels," Naryshkin said, without providing evidence to support the claim.
The statement prompted a rebuke from Washington.
"This statement is incredibly ironic considering Russia's longstanding state-sponsored disinformation and propaganda efforts," a spokesperson for the US State Department told Reuters.
Putin announced the military offensive against Ukraine on February 24. The Russian president said his country aimed to "demilitarize and de-Nazify" Ukraine.
The US government has called the Russian offensive an "unprovoked and unjustified attack," and the mainstream American media have described it as the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two.
The conflict has provoked a unanimous response from Western countries, which have imposed a long list of sanctions on Moscow. The United States and its Western allies have also stepped up military support for Ukraine, sending a wide array of defensive weapons meant to hold off Russia's advance.