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Four websites linked to Russian intelligence agencies have been spreading false or misleading information about coronavirus vaccines, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an official at the U.S. Department of State's Global Engagement Center.

The sites, identified as New Eastern Outlook, Oriental Review, News Front, and Rebel Inside, have emphasized the side effects of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine and other western pharma giants' vaccines, stoking concerns about whether the drugs are effective, The Verge reported citing WSJ.

Although the sites mentioned have no large audiences, their false stories are often picked up and circulated by international media, officials say.

Read alsoGerman bank closing accounts of Russian propaganda mediaThey typically focus on true news reports about rare side effects of the vaccines, while failing to deliver accurate context that would show the vaccines are safe for most people.

"Russian intelligence services bear direct responsibility for using these four platforms to spread propaganda and lies," a State Department spokesman told the WSJ.

In addition to the campaign to compromise Western vaccines, Russia's state media and Twitter accounts connected to the Russian government are also trying to promote Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.

A spokesperson for the Kremlin denied the allegations.