European nation Belarus becomes the first nation in the world to receive the controversial Russian vaccine dubbed Sputnik V, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced, as the nation faces unprecedented political turmoil.
According to Russian media Sputnik news, the Belarusian president cited his recent conversation with President Putin confirming the receipt of the vaccine.
Health care experts and critics however said Russia’s national pride was coming ahead of the health safety of its people as the vaccine was given nod for manufacturing before the crucial phase III clinical trial was done.
According to the Belarusian press service reporting on the vaccine: “the two presidents agreed that Belarus citizens will voluntarily take part in phase III trials of the vaccine. Belarus will thus become the first nation to import the Russian vaccine”.
The two presidents reportedly spoke on the telephone on Monday and discussed the present anti-government dissent tearing Belarus apart from vaccine deals.
Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine was developed by Moscow-based Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian Defence Ministry which was officially christened on August 11.
Belarus’ vaccine import comes at a time as the country faces one of the most unprecedented political upheavals in recent history.
Dubbed as the most determined and the largest protest, hundreds of thousands have been protesting to overthrow the authoritarian regimen of Alexander Lukashenko, who has been the president ever since the establishment of the office 26 years ago, on 20 July 1994.
The country has long suffered under the regimen of the ruler where free and fair elections are game, who is notorious for retaining Soviet-era symbolism in the rule. President Alexander was a former soviet troop before joining Belarusian politics.
Recently on Sunday, over 200,000 protestors marched on the streets demanding the regimen’s resignation, Al Jazeera reported. This is the 15th day of the country’s most determined anti-government march so far.
The hundreds of thousands of protestors were greeted by an aggressive show of power by the government, state media reported.
President Alexander landed on a chopper amid the protesting crowds on the grounds, wearing bulletproof jacket armed with an apparently showy Kalashnikov-type automatic rifle.
Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya who was a part of the protest said: “The Belarusian people have changed. They will never accept the old authorities.”
“Sooner or later he will have to step away. It’s better for everybody. It’s better for the country if it will happen in the shortest time,” Al Jazeera reported.
As of 24th August Belarus has recorded 70,645 cases of novel coronavirus with 600 plus fatality cases, as per Worldometer data.