FORUM

Jan 12 2021

As Ukraine looks to China for Covid-19 vaccine, Kiev reveals it won’t accept Russian Sputnik V – even if it’s approved by WHO

Ukraine’s foreign minister has revealed that Kiev does not intend to buy the Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, even if its effectiveness is confirmed by regulators, and accused Moscow of caring more about propaganda than people.

Speaking to TV channel 1+1, Dmitry Kuleba said that the “propaganda capabilities of Sputnik V far exceed its real capabilities and effectiveness,” and detailed his belief that if Ukraine imported the Russian vaccine into the country, it would be used by the Kremlin to score points.

“As a member of the government, I would oppose such a decision,” he said. “Russia does not care about the health of Ukrainians. It cares about imposing its propaganda cliches and ideology by supplying the vaccine, even if it were effective.”

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The World Health Organization has approved the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine for emergency use, even though its safety and effectiveness can’t be guaranteed after such a short timeframe. All other formulas, including Sputnik V, are yet to be accepted.

“There is a factor that is much more important than a medical one, from the point of view of Russia’s interest. This is a propaganda factor,” Kuleba said.

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In recent weeks, Kuleba has repeatedly warned that Ukraine will not buy the Russian vaccine, even though officials also admit Kiev is having difficulty obtaining Western-made alternatives. On December 29, he called Sputnik V “a weapon of hybrid warfare.”

President Volodymyr Zelensky has also noted that the country would prefer to get a US- or EU-produced equivalent, noting that it would be impossible to justify rejecting help from Russia if the West refuses to supply jabs.

However, following Washington’s ban on the export of Covid-19 vaccines, Kiev has turned to Beijing instead of Moscow. According to Lekhim, a Kharkov-based pharmaceutical company, Ukraine will receive 5 million doses of the Chinese Sinovac before establishing production of the vaccine within the country in 2022.

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