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2021.02.10 10:49

Referencing Soviet occupation, Lithuanian FM says country will not buy Russian vaccine

BNS2021.02.10 10:49

On Tuesday, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis mentioned the Soviet occupation to say that the country will not buy the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.

"I back the prime minister's position that we don’t need the Sputnik sun to be brought from Moscow," said Landsbergis.

In 1940, following the Soviet occupation of Lithuania, a delegation travelled to Moscow to ostensibly apply for joining the USSR. The mission claimed to be bringing the sun from Moscow.

"I believe it's Lithuania's geostrategic choice to buy vaccines as they are being bought on taxpayers' money from countries we view as close in terms of values," the Lithuanian foreign minister said.

He also backed Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė’s position that Lithuania would not buy the Russian vaccine, even if it's approved by the European Medicines Agency.

"We probably don’t want to pay a manufacturer that will use the same money through the budget to buy munitions that might be later used, let's say, in Eastern Ukraine," he said.

Read more: Lithuania will not buy Russian Covid-19 vaccine, PM says

Landsbergis added that Lithuania was determined to buy vaccines only from producers meeting the "transatlantic criterion".

He also calimed that "hundreds" of producers want their Covid-19 vaccine to be used in Europe.

"Even if a large part of them failed to go through trials and register successfully, still there will be plenty of vaccines on the market," he said. "We will definitely have a wider choice than we have now."

Asta Skaisgirytė, the Lithuanian president's chief adviser on diplomatic issues, told the press conference the president's position matched that of the prime minister's.

"There's no talking about Lithuania's potentially buying the Russian vaccine," she said.

Recently, several countries in Europe have backed the use of Chinese and Russian vaccines.

Hungary has become the first EU member country to give approval to Russian and Chinese vaccines without waiting for a joint decision. The Czech prime minister has said his country is considering doing so.

German and French leaders say Russian and Chinese vaccines could be used if approved by the agency.