VILNIUS – Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis believes the issue of buying the Sputnik coronavirus vaccine will no longer be that important soon as "hundreds" of producers want their COVID-19 vaccine to be used in Europe.
"As far as I know, vaccine producers seeking approval now come in hundreds. 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, Landsbergis told journalists on Tuesday. "We will definitely have a wider choice than we have now."
He also backed Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte' position that Lithuania would not buy the Russian Sputnik vaccine, even if it's approved by the European Medicines Agency.
"I back the prime minister's position that we don’t need the Spuntik sun to be brought from Moscow and, definitely, I believe it's Lithuania's geostrategic choice to buy vaccines as they are being bought on taxpayers' money from countries we view as closed in terms of values," the Lithuanian foreign minister said.
"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.
Landsbergis says Lithuania is determined to buy vaccines only from producers meeting the "transatlantic criterion".
Asta Skaisgiryte, 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.
Discussions on the use of Chinese and Russian vaccines have been gathering pace in Europe recently.
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.