LONDON

President Alberto Fernandez has asked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin “to guarantee the supply” of the Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine to Argentina and Latin America, said a government readout.

On Tuesday, the two nations’ leaders spoke by phone for 30 minutes, during which Putin told Fernandez that Russia is increasing the production of Sputnik V “so that Argentina receives the agreed volume of vaccines.”

Fernandez thanked Russia’s Gamaleya’s Institute and the Russian Fund for their efforts in supplying Sputnik V.

Fernandez said that Argentina’s immunization campaign across the country is “excellent”.

The government readout said that Putin and Russia appreciate how Argentina has valued Sputnik V, which he described as “as safe and effective”.

Both Fernandez and Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner have already received their first doses of the vaccine.

In addition to the request to guarantee the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to Argentina and Latin America, the leaders also discussed the epidemiological situation of their two countries and Argentina’s negotiations with the Monetary Fund International (IMF) with Argentina asking for Russia’s support.

Putin also invited his Argentine counterpart to visit Russia, with Fernandez assuring the Russian leader he will go as the “link between both nations is a priority”.

Fernandez also expressed his wish to strengthen “multilateralism”.

The Argentine president was joined in the call by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Felipe Sola, and by the presidential advisor Cecilia Nicolini.

The government readout did not mention whether Argentina could potentially be close to agreeing a deal with Russia to produce Sputnik V in the country as reported locally.

Argentina has relied on Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and has received three consignments from Moscow, around 820,000 doses in total.

According to local reports, the Argentine deliveries have reportedly fallen short of the 5 million doses they had expected to receive by the end of January.

Argentina, with a population close to 45 million, has registered nearly more than 1.9 million COVID-19 cases and over 48,000 deaths, according to data from the US-based Johns Hopkins University.

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