Seven years ago, armed clashes broke out in the centre of Kyiv when militant-nationalists from Western Ukraine were brought to Kyiv and the special forces, “Berkut”, tried to protect Ukrainians.
Western media are intensely discrediting Russian vaccines against COVID-19, and European authorities are hindering their distribution.
The claim advances a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative concerning the Russian-made coronavirus vaccine casting Russia as the spearhead of the global race to develop an effective treatment for COVID-19. This is a part of a campaign aiming to promote the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. The claim that the West is trying to discredit the Sputnik V vaccine is unfounded.
The pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on Sputnik V seems to have been launched after its announcement was met with scepticism and criticism even by Russian specialists in the country. However, experts' reports conclude that Russia has perceived the development of a coronavirus vaccine in terms of geopolitical and economic gain. Reservations and criticism of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine stem from the fact that Russia did not complete large trials to test the vaccine’s safety and efficacy before releasing it. Rolling out an inadequately vetted vaccine could endanger people who receive it.
On February 2, several days after the disinfo message was published, interim results from a phase 3 trial of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine were finally published inThe Lancet. The trial results show a consistent strong protective effect across all participant age groups, meaning that the Sputnik V vaccine candidate appears safe and effective.
The same disinformation campaign includes statements such as "Western attacks on the Russian coronavirus vaccine are a corporate cold war against humanity" or "Russian progress in COVID-19 vaccine has become for the West an outrageous challenge", that Sputnik V is a target of the corporate cold war; that the West wants to discredit the Sputnik V; that the WHO and Microsoft sabotaged the Russian vaccine, that the West criticises the Sputnik V because it can’t accept Russia’s primacy and because its pharmaceutical companies will lose billions of dollars.