Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday proposed holding an online international conference for countries interested in cooperating in the development of coronavirus vaccines.  

Speaking at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly via video link, Putin said Russia is ready to share its experience in vaccine development and supply other countries and international entities with its Sputnik V vaccine.

“Russia is sure that all capacities of the global pharmaceutical industry need to be employed so as to provide free access to vaccination for the population of all states in the foreseeable future,” he said.

Putin said Russia has received some requests from UN staff for vaccination against COVID-19 with the country’s coronavirus vaccine.

“We are offering to provide our vaccine, free of charge, for the voluntary vaccination of the staff of the UN and its offices,” he said.

Another Russian initiative in connection with the coronavirus pandemic is the opening of “green corridors free from trade wars and sanctions” for essential goods, food, medicine and personal protective equipment needed to fight the pandemic, Putin said.

Turning to the UN’s role, Putin said the organization “has been ably fulfilling its mission” of protecting peace, promoting the sustainable development of peoples and continents and assisting in mitigating local crises.

He agreed with the necessity to reform the UN Security Council so that it would be “more inclusive of the interests of all countries” but said the veto power of the Security Council’s permanent members must remain intact.

“The veto power is an essential and unique instrument that helps prevent unilateral actions that may result in a direct military confrontation between major states and provides an opportunity to seek compromise, or at least avoid solutions that would be completely unacceptable to others and act within the framework of international law, rather than a vague, gray area of arbitrariness and illegitimacy,” the president said.

Putin told how Russia has suggested convening a summit of the G-5 countries aiming to reaffirm “the key principles of behavior in international affairs” and finding ways to effectively address today’s “most burning issues,” including arms control and the prohibition of chemical, biological and toxin weapons.

“The issue of primary importance that should and must be promptly dealt with is, of course, the extension of the Russia-US Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which will expire shortly, in February 2021. We are engaged in negotiations with our US partners on the matter,” he said.

Putin expects that “mutual restraint would be exercised” in the deployment of new missile systems and suggested signing a binding agreement between all the leading space powers that would provide for the prohibition of the placement of weapons in outer space and the threat or use of force against outer space objects.

“I believe that such reciprocal steps on specific issues would provide a sound basis for launching a serious, profound dialogue on the entire range of factors affecting strategic stability. It would aim at achieving comprehensive arrangements, shaping a solid foundation for international security.

“I would like to reiterate that in an interrelated, interdependent world, amid the whirlpool of international developments, we need to work together drawing on the principles and norms of international law enshrined in the UN Charter. This is the only way for us to carry out the paramount mission of our Organization and provide a decent life for the present and future generations,” he added.

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