West on brink of vaccine ‘world war’ as Putin ‘weaponizes’ Sputnik V jab to ‘attack’ the EU, warns Macron
THE West faces a “new world war” as Russia and China weaponise their Covid vaccines to exploit shortages in Europe, Emmanuel Macron has warned.
The French president’s warning of “attacks” from Moscow and Beijing come amid an escalating vaccine war between the EU and Britain.
Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates…French president Emmanuel Macron warned of a ‘new world war’ over vaccines[/caption] He claimed Russia’s Vladimir Putin is waging war with his vaccine exports[/caption]
In a sign of deepening divisions following the EU’s supply chaos, France and Germany are both considering turning to Russia’s Sputnik V jab.
But Mr Macron warned President Putin was using his vaccine to wage war on the West in an angry outburst after last night’s virtual summit of EU leaders.
He said: “We are looking at a new type of world war.
“We are looking in particular at Russian and Chinese attacks and attempts to gain influence through the vaccine.”
He said aggressive policies from those regimes meant the EU had to strengthen its own vaccine capabilities.
He said: “We need sovereignty in this matter. We must be able to manufacture vaccines.
“The virus will continue to be here, circulating, mutating, and we need options to deal with it.”France and Germany are considering using Russia’s Sputnik V jab[/caption] Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied using the vaccine for war[/caption]
Mr Macron’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also accused Russia and China of using their home-grown vaccines to gain influence abroad.
It was angrily denied by the Kremlin today.
Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We completely disagree that Russia and China are engaged in some war and abuse the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines as a certain leverage.
“Russia has never had, does not have and will never have any intentions to politicise the vaccine issue and abuse vaccines as an influence tool.
“Russia is a responsible member of the international community which is best showcased in such tough days and years as the pandemic that humanity is now going through.”
Hungary and Slovakia have already started using Sputnik V, bypassing EU bureaucracy to secure their own jab supplies.
Today the German government said that it would be open to using Sputnik V once it had approval from the European Medicines Agency regulator.
And earlier this week, France’s Europe secretary Clément Beaune said his country could start using it as early as June.
Mr Beaune said: “There is no need to politicise this issue. If the vaccine is useful, if it is available, then you should use it.”
The EMA warned it could take until at least May before it makes a decision on whether to approve Sputnik.
It has already been registered in 55 countries, and Russia has been keen to export it even though only a tiny fraction of Russians have had it so far.
Beijing also has plans to export 400million doses of four Chinese-made vaccines around the world.
Brazil and Mexico – which are being ravaged by a deadly third wave – are among dozens of nations that have imported Chinese jabs.
Millions in Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines will also get Chinese jabs.
Russia and China have been accused of vaccine diplomacy – using the vaccines as leverage to win allies in future disputes with the West.
In turn, Moscow and Beijing have accused the West of hoarding vaccines while poorer nations suffer.
Figures today showed global vaccinations have passed the 500million mark.
More than a quarter, some 133million doses, were administered in the USA.
Earlier today, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian stoked tensions by accusing Britain of “blackmail”.
He claimed the UK will run into “problems” giving patients a second dose and will rely on exports from the Continent.
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His salvo came after the EU backed down from a a barmy ban on exports from AstraZeneca’s factory in the Netherlands.
Despite being snubbed by EU leaders, Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen warned she could STILL block deliveries to Britain.
She was slapped down by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said the EU and Britain should work together for a “win-win” solution.
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