Russia's Putin in G20: Ready to provide our coronavirus vaccine to countries in need

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Russia is prepared to provide its own coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, to countries in need, President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday in his address to the virtual G20 Riyadh Summit.

"Effective and safe vaccines should be available to everyone and Russia is ready to provide its coronavirus vaccines to the countries in need... Russia supports the summit’s draft decision aimed at making effective and safe vaccines available to everyone... Undoubtedly, vaccines should belong to the entire public," Putin said, according to the Kremlin.

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"Our country, Russia, is ready to provide the countries in need with the vaccines developed by our researchers. This is the world’s first registered vaccine Sputnik V, based on human adenoviral vectors platform. The second Russian vaccine, EpiVacCorona from a Novosibirsk research centre, is also ready. The third Russian vaccine is coming," he added.

Russia had announced on November 9 that Sputnik V was more than 90 percent effective.

Pfizer and Moderna had both announced successful COVID-19 vaccines, each more than 90 percent effective.

Putin said: "The scale of the pandemic compels us to engage all the resources and research available. Our common goal is to form portfolios of vaccines and ensure reliable protection for the planet’s population. It means that there will be enough work for everyone, colleagues, and I think it is a case when competition may be inevitable but we must proceed primarily from humanitarian considerations and make it a priority."

The COVID-19 virus has infected over 57.7 million people and claimed the lives of more than 1.38 million. And tens of thousands more deaths are feared in the coming months, with the onset of cold weather and the holidays.

'Great depression'

The Russian president also said that the coronavirus pandemic triggered an economic crisis unlike anything seen since the Great Depression.

"The scale of problems that mankind faced in 2020 is indeed unprecedented. The coronavirus pandemic, a global lockdown and suspended economic activities triggered a systemic economic crisis, the likes of which the world has not seen since the Great Depression," Putin said.

He added that mass unemployment and rising poverty remain major challenges for the international community.

"Despite some positive signs, mass long-term unemployment, which leads to a rise in poverty and social dislocation, remains a major global challenge and the G20’s role is to prevent it," Putin said.

"Based on the experience of the fight against the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, the G20 group has launched a number of multilateral initiatives to combat economic risks related to the pandemic and restore business activities, particularly through global governance institutions, including the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and others," he added.

"The G20 group needs to continue efforts to find common approaches to reforming the World Trade Organization, taking the current challenges into account... It is impossible to achieve this goal without a stable, effective and multilateral trading system based on universal rules and principles, and there is no alternative to the World Trade Organization at the moment."

"We need to address pressing issues related to global trade. In particular, there is a need to try to contain protectionism, abandon the practice of unilateral sanctions and restore supply chains," Putin said.

Russia has the fifth highest number of coronavirus infections, of more than 2.047 million cases, and a reported death toll of 35,442, according to the John Hopkins tally.

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