Relations between Moscow and the West have deteriorated due to the situation in Ukraine and around Crimea, which was reunited with Russia after a referendum on the peninsula. Moscow was accused of interfering and sanctions against it were imposed. Russia retaliated, embarking on a course of import substitution. Also, the authorities have repeatedly noted that it is counterproductive to talk with Moscow in the language of sanctions. Russia has repeatedly stressed that it does not participate in the conflict in Ukraine and is not a subject of the Minsk settlement agreements.
The Russian-made Sputnik V is the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine. The drug has a proven efficacy of over 95%.
The claim advances a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative concerning the Russian-made coronovirus vaccine, Sputnik V; casting Russia as the spearhead of the global race to develop effective treatment for COVID-19.
The Russian government's approval of Sputnik V in August 2020 hardly makes it the world's first coronavirus vaccine. Serious doubts linger over both the safety and efficacy of the Russian-made jab, given the lack of transparency which accompanied the approval process and the "very strange patterns in the data" which the drug's developers submitted to The Lancet journal. In fact, Russia remains the only country which has approved a COVID-19 vaccine before the publication of Phase III efficacy data.
The claim that Sputnik V demonstrates >95% efficacy has likewise been called into question. According to Science magazine, the assertion "doesn't pass the smell test," given that the percentage is based on merely 20 cases. By comparison, the estimated efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot is based on 94 identified cases, and the clinical trials are to continue until that number reaches 164.