France accuses Russia of using its vaccine as an instrument of “enemy diplomacy” … and Moscow replies

On Friday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accused Russia of using his “Sputnik” vaccine against the coronavirus as a “propaganda” tool to get the reaction out of Moscow quickly, the Kremlin announced on Friday Russia and China are not using their coronavirus vaccines as “leverage” in the international arena to respond to Western allegations.

“We absolutely disagree with (allegations) that Russia and China are using Corona and the problems caused by vaccines as instruments of influence,” said Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Le Drian told France Info Radio: “Depending on how the problem is dealt with, it may be a more aggressive propaganda and diplomatic method than solidarity and health aid.”

These statements are at a time of tension over the approval of the Russian vaccine “Sputnik V” in the European Union, as Russia accuses Brussels of voluntarily slowing down the process. Brussels, for its part, accuses both Moscow and Beijing of “using vaccines for propaganda purposes”.

He cited the example of Tunisia to compare Russian vaccine delivery announcements with vaccine deliveries to the poorest countries by the World Health Organization’s international Kovacs mechanism. “In the midst of intense media coverage, Russia announced that there will be 30,000 cans for Tunisians that will be awarded for Sputnik!”

“At the same time, Kovacs has so far delivered 100,000 cans and will deliver 400,000 additional cans by May. A total of four million cans are to be delivered to Tunisia this year. This is the real solidarity work, this is true health cooperation.”

In general, Le Drian criticized the attempt to cement Beijing and Moscow’s influence on the vaccine. He said, “China and Russia have a policy of influence by vaccination before they have even vaccinated their own people.”

Taking Senegal’s example, he noted that by the time China “announced it would ship 200,000 cans to this country,” the Kovacs had “delivered” twice as much.

Last Tuesday, the foreign ministers of Russia and China criticized the policies of Western countries regarding vaccines against the coronavirus, dismissing allegations of “opportunism” made against their countries, claiming that they only “wanted to save lives”.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during an official visit to China that Westerners “are trying to present Russia and China as opportunists in the field of vaccine diplomacy. This is not true at all.”

He added that vaccine policy “should be driven by humanitarian considerations and the interests of saving lives, not geopolitical considerations or commercial approaches to beat the competition”.

For his part, his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi emphasized: “Instead of saying that China intends to do some kind of vaccine diplomacy, it is better to say that China is currently doing humanitarian work.”

He continued, “Our intention from the start was to enable the greatest number of people to get the vaccine as soon as possible.”

Last Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned “strange” statements by EU Commissioner Terry Brenton, who stressed that Europe “does not need” the Russian vaccine against the corona virus.

Study at one time the European Medicines Agency Russian vaccine license applicationAccording to the Russian Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko, a group of experts from the agency will travel to Russia on April 10 to examine clinical studies with the vaccine “Sputnik V”.

Several member states of the European Union, particularly Hungary, previously decided to vaccinate with Russian and Chinese vaccines, which are not yet approved in the European Union.

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