PRAGUE, April 9. /TASS/. The Russian Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus has high-ranking enemies in Slovakia who use it as an instrument of a hybrid war, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Igor Matovic said in a statement on Friday aired by the TA3 TV channel.
"Sputnik V turned out to have too many high-ranking enemies in Slovakia. They used this vaccine as a hybrid weapon in order to remove from office Health Minister [Marek Krajci who approved the use of the vaccine in the country in early March] and myself from the Prime Minister’s seat (Matovic, who initiated the purchase of the preparation unregistered in the EU, stepped down on March 30 - TASS)," he noted.
The deputy prime minister emphasized that "the Sputnik V vaccine is of an extremely high quality and its delivery to Slovakia was supposed to accelerate inoculation of the republic’s residents by 40%." According to surveys, 500,000 out of approximately 5.5 mln residents want to be inoculated against the coronavirus only using the Russian preparation.
Talks with head of RDIF
The deputy prime minister reported of reasons for his visit to Moscow on Thursday where he discussed supplies of the vaccine to Slovakia with Head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Kirill Dmitriev.
"Russians, observing the events in Slovakia, de-facto annulled the agreement [on vaccine supplies to the republic] and demanded that the Slovak side return the batch of the vaccine that arrived [on March 1] which we had been storing for six weeks already. It will be used where it is wanted. This involves, by the way, 59 countries," the deputy prime minister noted.
He expressed complete understanding of the Russian approach to the fact of the vaccine remaining unused in Slovakia. "They [the Russians] feel that they suffered major damages because the State Institute for Drug Control (which serves as a pharmaceutic regulator in Slovakia - TASS) entrusted the expert evaluation of this vaccine to an unregistered [in the EU specialized network] laboratory. At the same time, the State Institute for Drug Control itself is perfectly aware that vaccines in the EU can only be studied and evaluated by specialized laboratories. The results presented by this unregistered [in the EU] [Slovak] laboratory agitated the entire world and dealt a major blow to the Sputnik V’s reputation," the deputy prime minister stated.
He noted that Russia produces high-quality vaccines against various diseases. World-renowned scientists, including 90 professors, worked on the development of the preparation against the coronavirus. "I completely understand the disappointment of the Russian side [over the situation around Sputnik V in Slovakia]," the deputy prime minister emphasized.
According to him, his visit to Russia on Thursday had positive results. "I went to Moscow, having received information that the Russian side wants to completely annul the agreement on deliveries of Sputnik V and that it doesn’t want to have anything to do with Slovakia [on this issue]. I had a singular goal to leave for us [Slovakia] doors open [in Russia]. I managed to attain this. This is all I can tell you," he stressed.
The deputy prime minister informed that on Friday he is heading to Budapest to study the experience of using vaccines against the coronavirus in Hungary.