Russia slams ‘selfish’ US move to halt WHO funding amid coronavirus pandemic

Russia’s Deputy FM Sergei Ryabkov attends a panel discussion during the 55th Munich Security Conference in Munich, southern Germany, on February 16, 2019. (AFP)

US President Donald Trump’s freeze on funding for the World Health Organization is a selfish response to the global coronavirus pandemic, a senior Russian official said Wednesday.

Trump announced Tuesday that the United States would halt payments to the UN body that amounted to $400 million last year, accusing it of “mismanaging” the pandemic.

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His decision has prompted widespread international condemnation.

“We see yesterday’s announcement by Washington on freezing funding of the WHO as most concerning,” deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told state news agency TASS.

“It is a sign of the very selfish approach of the US authorities to what is happening in the world due to the pandemic,” he added.

“Such a blow to this organization just when the international community is looking towards it... is a step worthy of condemnation and every reproach,” the diplomat said.

He said Russia is urging the US to “cease further attacks on the WHO and take a responsible course.”

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Earlier Wednesday, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Trump’s move showed that his main priority was to name and shame the “guilty” and show his own supposed moral superiority.

“For politicians of this country, there is always someone to blame. In the pandemic, it is China and the WHO,” she told TASS.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:02 - GMT 07:02
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