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‘I will stand with Russia’: Pro-Putin sentiment spreads online

In a podcast on Wednesday, Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former adviser, also hailed Mr. Putin as “anti-awakening”. He suggested that the Ukrainian conflict was “not our fight”.

After Russia’s attack began, some online users explained Mr Putin’s motives by mixing them with Covid-19 conspiracy theories. A Twitter account named War Clandestine said Mr Putin was targeting US-operated biological labs in Ukraine. The idea was made more credible, the author said, due to the conspiracy theory that the United States engineered Covid-19 in a lab in Wuhan, China.

Pro-American influencers like Mikel Crump and John Basham, who have a combined 99,200 followers, amplified the feed. Twitter later suspended the War Clandestine account, along with a second from the same user for trying to evade the ban, but people continued to post screen recordings of the thread online.

Twitter said the user’s accounts had been permanently suspended for violating its abusive behavior policy and it was monitoring emerging stories that violated its rules. Mr. Crump and Mr. Basham did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some pro-Russian commentators insisted they were right. Many blamed Mr. Biden, reviving old conspiracy theories about his son Hunter and Hunter’s employment at a Ukrainian gas company when Mr. Biden was vice president and engaged in diplomatic efforts with the country. There was no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens, but conservatives seized on the narrative in the 2020 election.

When reached for comment, Mr Oltmann, the Conservative podcaster, said: ‘You really have no idea about Ukraine. People support Russia because you didn’t do the right thing about Biden’s fraud and corruption. I pray for the people of Ukraine, but I also pray that the people who facilitated the evil communist agenda in the United States will be held accountable.

In an email, Ms Owens, the conservative talk show host, also said the Russia-Ukraine war was Mr Biden’s fault. “Ukrainians are dying because of the criminal connections of the Biden family and their insistence on stoking conflict in the region,” she said.


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