Russia slams EU for ‘politicising’ Covid vaccine as bloc’s roll out stalls

Russia: EU ‘failed political test’ says expert

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Russia has hit out at European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen after her public remarks appeared to throw doubt over the safety and efficacy of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine. Mrs von der Leyen’s comments were dismissed by Russian diplomats in Brussels as “either an effort to politicise the issue in an unsubstantiated and, indeed, deplorable way, or indicates an inadequate level of awareness of the top-level official”. It comes as a number of European Union nations are said to in talks with Moscow about securing doses of the Sputnik V jab. 

Commenting on the row, Russia Today presenter Saskia Taylor said: “It is pretty clear from that statement that Russia’s dismayed by the lack of diplomacy but also the lack of humanity that the EU chief has recently shown.

“Again politics beats cooperation when it comes to the Covid-19 vaccine.

“For the EU it really has been a struggle, a struggle to get production off the ground, a struggle to get jabs in arms, a struggle with the UK over who gets however many doses.

“And the slowness in inoculating its 450 million-strong population has got people angry and frustrated.”

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“This was in their view a political test and Brussels failed to the point that Von der Leyen had to publically apologies,” added the news anchor.

“Individual members states have been forced to go out on their own looking for alternatives.

“They are looking at Russia, Hungary for example has registered for emergency use of Sputnik V,

“We also heard Austria and Czech republic showing an appetite for the Russian vaccine.” 

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It comes after Mrs von der Leyen used a recent press appearance to discredit the Russian state-backed vaccine. 

She said: “I must say we still wonder why Russia is offering theoretically millions and millions of doses while not sufficiently progressing in vaccinating their own people.”

Russia’s EU embassy announced it was “perplexed to hear” Mrs von der Leyen’s criticism of its country’s authorities and scientific community.


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“An extensive network of vaccination centres has been set up and is constantly being improved, including employing modern digitalisation tools.”

Mrs von der Leyen insisted EU inspectors would have to be granted access to Moscow’s manufacturers’ plants and all the scientific data before making a decision to approve the jab’s use across the bloc.

The Russian embassy said: “Our country is ready to provide any state with full information on the invention of Russian scientists, as well as trial batches of Sputnik V, so that interested partners could conduct a full and independent analysis both of its pharmacological characteristics and of other economic and logistical factors.”

“We presume that production and distribution of vaccines should be beyond politics,” it added.

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