NOVO-OGARYOVO, March 22. /TASS/. The statements voiced in the EU regarding Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine gives food for thought that officials are protecting interests of certain companies rather than citizens of the union, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday at a meeting dedicated to issues of the COVID-19 vaccination.
"It is surprising that right ahead of our meeting, as I was informed, just now one of the responsible European Commission officials stressed <…>, ‘We don’t need Sputnik V.’ It is a strange statement, we are not imposing anything on anyone," the president underlined. According to him, when such statements are voiced by officials "a question arises whose interests these people protect and represent, interests of certain pharmaceutical companies or interests of citizens of European countries."
"What are they doing? Lobbying? And these people are trying to teach us something and impose some sanctions against us," Putin noted. "Well, let it be. I reiterate, it is their choice. Please, let them do whatever they deem necessary and expedient to realize the goals they are facing," he added.
The president noted that many people in Europe are not aware that Moscow submitted an official application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on January 21, 2021 to certify the Russian vaccine and received the decision that the process had begun only on March 4. At the same time, Putin stressed that Russian pharmaceutical companies should consider the dynamics of the global market and demand for vaccines to develop their industrial capabilities with this in mind.
On Sunday, European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said that the EU does not need Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. On March 17, he was asked about using the Russian jab to compensate the EU vaccine deficit and replied that the commission does not doubt the shot’s efficacy but is aware that Russia "has difficulties with producing this vaccine.".