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Russia wants Slovakia to return Sputnik V vaccines

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PRAGUE (AP) – Russia on Thursday asked Slovakia to return the Sputnik V vaccine it received “due to numerous contract violations”.

The official Twitter account of the Sputnik V vaccine states that the Slovakian drug regulator “tested the Sputnik V in a laboratory that is not part of the EU’s official drug control laboratory network” by “violating the existing contract with a sabotage act”.

He made a note in the tweets of the Slovak State Institute for Drug Control. “It has launched a disinformation campaign against Sputnik V and is planning additional provocations.”

According to the Slovak Institute, the network of EU-certified laboratories tests only vaccines registered in the European Union, which is not the case with Sputnik. It added that it did not know the details of the Russian-Slovak agreement as it was classified.

The announcement came hours after Slovakia’s regulator did not receive enough information from its manufacturer about the Russian vaccine to assess its benefits and risks. The Slovak Institute reported that about 80% of the requested data was not provided.

It says that the vaccine delivered to Slovakia is different from the Sputnik V vaccine, which is considered to be 91% effective and seems to prevent people with the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a study published in the Lancet.

Sputnik V has not yet been approved for use in the EU, but last month the body’s regulator, the European Medicines Agency, began rolling out vaccine testing. The Slovak Pharmaceutical Agency reports that the EU-sponsored Sputnik V vaccine is also different from the one sent to Slovakia.

The Russian side called it “fake news”.

“All batches of Sputnik V are of the same quality խիստ under strict quality control at the Gamale Institute,” it said. “The quality of Sputnik V has been approved by regulators in 59 countries.”

But the Slovaks said the vaccines seemed to have “only a common name”.

Slovakia’s coalition government collapsed last month after Prime Minister Igor Matovic began a secret deal to buy 2 million Sputnik V vaccines despite disagreements with coalition partners. On March 1, Matovich met the first 200,000 Russian vaccines at the airport.

Matovic, who now serves as finance minister and deputy prime minister in the new government, was sworn in last week in Moscow on Thursday to discuss further vaccine deliveries. The Russians said the vaccine had been “banked” and that Kirill Dmitry, the chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, had a “productive meeting” with Matovich.

The foundation demanded that the Slovaks send Sputnik V to an EU-certified laboratory for examination, and asked them to return the vaccines so that “they could be used in other countries”.

“Congratulations, you idiots,” Matovic said in a Facebook message to opponents of the Sputnik deal. He said he was not ready to give it up, he was going to announce his next steps on Friday.

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Daria Litvinova invested in Moscow.

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