Kremlin denies claims Russia, China using vaccines as ‘tools of influence’

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The Kremlin rejected Friday the suggestion Russia and China were using their vaccines as tools to win geopolitical clout, after accusations the two countries were using their jabs to gain influence abroad.

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“We absolutely disagree with the fact that both Russia and China are waging some kind of war. And we absolutely disagree with the fact that Russia and China are using the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines as tools of influence,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

France on Friday accused Russia of using its Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine as a tool to spread Moscow’s influence and message rather than as way to fight the global health crisis.

“In terms of how it is managed, it (the Sputnik V vaccine) is more a means of propaganda and aggressive diplomacy than a means of solidarity and health aid,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Info radio.

The Russian vaccine has come under much criticism in Western countries, while President Vladimir Putin – who got a Sputnik jab himself on Tuesday – has dismissed the skepticism as “strange”.

Le Drian said both Russia and China were using their vaccines to gain influence abroad “even before vaccinating their own population.”

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France accuses Russia of using vaccine as ‘propaganda, aggressive diplomacy’ tool

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