Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that the EU left Italy and other countries alone to fight coronavirus and that Russia was the first to help. This narrative aims to undermine European and transatlantic solidarity in face of the crisis and is in line with the Kremlin's long-standing goal of weakening the EU and the transatlantic alliance.
While Russia has indeed sent a military team to Italy, there are numerous examples of solidarity in the Western world, including among the EU and the individual Member States.
To cushion the blow to people’s livelihoods and the economy, the European Commission has adopted a comprehensive economic response to the outbreak, applied the full flexibility of the EU fiscal rules, has revised its State Aid rules and has proposed setting up a EUR 37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector.
To support scientific research into COVID-19, the European Commission earmarked 47,5 million EUR for shortlisted research projects that can improve epidemiology and public health, including preparedness and response to outbreaks. The EU has also created the first-ever stockpile of medical equipment. Read more about the EU's response here and here.
Regarding the Russian vaccine, it is clearly being used as a geopolitical influence tool since Sputnik V was announced by the Russian President Vladimir Putin, before even finishing the required medical trials, and after just two months of small-scale human testing, in a step that was regarded as an expression of Putin’s hankering for Soviet-era international clout. And there are already clear indications that it has at all times perceived the development of a coronavirus vaccine mainly in terms of geopolitical and economic gain.
And while the claim that Western countries are using “their vaccine” for their own interest is not founded on actual facts, it is noteworthy to know that Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the first vaccine approved by the WHO, is being already channelled towards third world countries through the COVAX global effort to beat this pandemic.
Read similar cases in our database claiming that the EU is dead because it abandoned Italy, and only Russia gave a helping hand or that Ebola vaccine was developed in Russia; or that AstraZeneca vaccine was born thanks to Russia; or that the EU did not give any attention and support to Italy, where people were dying without any help; or that EU will fall apart in 20-30 years; or that coronavirus in Italy stripped-down European unity.
This disinformation appeared in the same video as another message about Europe reducing sanctions on Russia once it becomes unrestrained and Americans and Europeans orchestrating protests around the world.