Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russian "information troops" were involved in "intelligent, effective propaganda", but he did not reveal details about the team or its targets, BBC reported.

The admission follows repeated allegations of cyberattacks against Western nations by the Russian state, while NATO is reported to be Moscow's top target.

Speaking to Russian MPs, Mr Shoigu said "we have information troops who are much more effective and stronger than the former Soviet 'counter-propaganda' section".

Keir Giles, an expert on the Russian military at the Chatham House think-tank, has warned that Russian "information warfare" occupies a wider sphere than the current Western focus on "cyber warriors" and hackers.

Read alsoPoroshenko advises EU to create Russian-language TV channel to counter Russian propaganda"The aim is to control information in whatever form it takes," he wrote in a NATO report called "The Next Phase of Russian Information Warfare".

"Unlike in Soviet times, disinformation from Moscow is primarily not selling Russia as an idea, or the Russian model as one to emulate.

"In addition, it is often not even seeking to be believed. Instead, it has as one aim undermining the notion of objective truth and reporting being possible at all," he wrote.