From: Alice Taylor
Russian Embassy and Rama Continue Exchange of Words over Sputnik Vaccine

The Russian embassy has reacted to the statement of Prime Minister Edi Rama, who called the embassy’s post about the Sputnik vaccine “inappropriate”.

Earlier this week, following the news that the EU would not be giving Albania the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the Member States, the Russian Embassy in Tirana urged the authorities to consider its Sputnik vaccine. The post did not go down well with Rama who called the post “inappropriate” and “ridiculous”.

“I thought it was a meme because for a serious state it is completely inappropriate to make such provocations. When I say provocation I do not mean to deliver a diplomatic demarche to Russia, because this is a ridiculous provocation. And it is not good for a serious country like Russia to become ridiculous with such posts[…] I express my regret for this[…]”

The Albanian Prime Minister said he would welcome an apology by the Russian Embassy, even just for the misunderstanding.

Through a Facebook post, the Embassy today stated that the post was simply a reaction to the tweet of the director of communications, Endri Fuga, and the statements of Rama, who mentioned the difficulty in securing the vaccine.

The Russians added that the post expressed readiness to review applications from any country interested in purchasing the Russian coronavirus vaccine, including Albania.

“In Russia, there is no doubt that joining the efforts of all countries, which have conducted scientific research and have the appropriate technologies, will help humanity overcome this disaster and return civilization to the path of sustainable development. At the same time, Moscow does not impose any conditions on potential partners. We regret that Russia’s goodwill, publicly expressed, is interpreted as provocative actions,” the embassy concluded.

During his speech at the press conference, Rama said that Albania is focused on Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Modernas vaccines. It is not known whether Albania has managed to secure any vaccines at this stage.