“It’s the same vaccine as everyone else,” she told Otse Postimehest (“Direct from Postimees”) on Friday. “Yes, perhaps Russia is using it to achieve its political goals. Why are they not vaccinating their people but offering it to foreigners – it’s to increase their influence, just as China is doing.”
“However, if EZA declares that it is a good vaccine, then we will have the same vaccine as any other,” the prime minister said. “It must not become a political tool, but people must be vaccinated.”
Urmas Reinsalu, the Foreign Minister of the previous government, who represents the “Fatherland” party, has objected to the Prime Minister’s assessment.
“Russia is rudely using it as an information operation, in which it then discredits Western vaccines and tries to promote its own. (..) I call on Kaja Kalas not to support Russian information operations,” he said.
According to Reinsalu, “it would be very naive to deny the presence of a political element in this matter”.
As reported, the Prime Minister of Lithuania Ingrida Šimonīte this week emphasized that her country would not buy the vaccine “Sputnik V”, even if it was approved by the EZA. Asked about this possibility in an interview with Lithuanian public radio, she pointed out that joint procurement by the European Union (EU) will provide Lithuania with a sufficient amount of vaccines produced in the West, so there is no need to consider purchasing a Russian vaccine.
According to Shimonite, the Russian authorities use the vaccine for geopolitical purposes.
“Attempts to offer a vaccine to Europe and other countries until all the people in Russia have been vaccinated look like another geopolitical game – I have no doubt about that,” Šimonīte admitted.
Speaking this week about the much-criticized visit of the European Union (EU) High Representative Joseph Borrell to Moscow, Eva Maria Limets, the foreign minister of the Kallas government, criticized her praise for the vaccine developed by Russia.
According to the minister, it should be asked whether it was worthwhile for Borrell to congratulate Russia on this vaccine as an outstanding achievement in the situation when the vaccine was declared ready before the end of the third phase of research, especially considering Russia’s hostile attitude towards vaccines developed in the West.
Discussions have recently sparked in Europe about the use of vaccines produced in China and Russia.
Hungary was the first to announce the approval of the Russian-Chinese vaccines without waiting for a joint decision, while the Czech Prime Minister Andrei Babiss said he was considering such an option.
German and French leaders have said Russian and Chinese vaccines could be used if approved by the EZA.
Many Westerners have long been skeptical of the Russian vaccine, but this attitude changed in part when an article appeared in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet stating that the effectiveness of Sputnik V in protecting against Covid-19 reached 91.6%. .