Russia denies using COVID-19 vaccines as ‘tools of influence’
The Kremlin rejected Friday that Russia and China were using their vaccines as tools to win geopolitical clout, after accusations the two countries were using their jabs to gain influence abroad.
Earlier Friday French President Emmanuel Macron claimed that his country was facing a “new kind of world war,” pointing to the two powers using their vaccines for “influence”.
“We absolutely disagree with the fact that both Russia and China are waging some kind of war,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
“And we absolutely disagree with the fact that Russia and China are using the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines as tools of influence,” he added.
For their part Russia and China have hit back by accusing Western countries of hoarding vaccines to the detriment of poor nations.
Russia has applied to Europe’s medicines regulator to gain approval for the use of its Sputnik V vaccine in the 27-nation bloc, but is still waiting for an answer.
In the meantime the developers are pushing Sputnik V — named after the Soviet-era satellite — in other regions and say the jab has been registered in 55 countries around the world.
But Russia’s own inoculation campaign has been slower than in many countries.
As of earlier this week, only about four million of the country’s 144 million people had received two doses of a vaccine, and another two million a first dose.
Also on Friday French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accused Russia and China of using their vaccines to gain influence abroad even before they had finished inoculating their own populations.