Criticized by his opponents for wanting to use the Russian vaccine, Igor Matovic persists: “Sputnik will save lives in Slovakia.” The Russian Direct Investment Fund had offered Bratislava to recover the doses of vaccines delivered.
Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic explained on March 5, 2021 that he did not intend to do without the doses of Sputnik V vaccine received by his country, despite criticism from his opponents. “Sputnik will not return to Russia and save lives in Slovakia,” Igor Matovic wrote in a Facebook post.
SPUTNIK DO RUSKA NEODLETÍ👊 To bolo kriku … za 2 milióny vakcín, ktoré zachrania tisícky životov! “Hybridná vojna …
Posted by Igor Matovic on Friday March 5, 2021
On March 1, Slovakia was the second country in the European Union to receive the Russian vaccine, after Hungary. The decision of the Slovak chief executive to use the Russian product has earned him the label of “Putin’s sidekick” by his opponents, he explained in his message, adding that the vaccine was described as a Russia’s “geopolitical weapon” and a tool in the Kremlin’s “hybrid war”.
Faced with the controversy, Igor Matovic underlined the fact that the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which helped finance the development of Sputnik V, had proposed to Slovakia to resume the doses of vaccines delivered, without sanction against Bratislava. A solution refused by the Prime Minister: “We are an integral part of the EU, but I cannot refuse [l’opportunité] to save our people with a quality vaccine only because it is made in Russia […] I am not a killer ”, he justified.
Igor Matovic had specified on March 1, during the first delivery of Sputnik V, that his country should receive the first million doses of the vaccine in March and April, followed by another million in May and June. Its Minister of Health, Marek Krajci, had declared for his part that he would sign a decree authorizing the use of Russian vaccines on Slovak territory without waiting for authorization from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The latter began on March 4 the examination procedure of the product with a view to its approval in the EU.
“Following the approval of the EMA, we would be able to provide vaccines for 50 million Europeans from June 2021,” said Kirill Dmitriev, chairman of RDIF in a statement. Within the EU, in addition to Slovakia and Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic have expressed their interest in the product.