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Gov’t Close to Agreement with Russia to Produce Sputnik V in Hungary

MTI-Hungary Today 2021.06.03.

Hungary and Russia have started talks on strategic cooperation on vaccine production, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Thursday after talks with Denis Manturov, the Russian minister for industry and trade, on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia on Thursday.

Szijjártó said the talks between the Hungarian national vaccine centre and the Russian Direct Investment Fund has resulted in a preliminary agreement whereby Russia allows production in Hungary of its Sputnik V vaccine pending the signing of a strategic cooperation agreement. Technical issues are yet to be discussed, he added.

“The point is that Hungary and Russia are both open to Hungary manufacturing vaccines under a Russian licence,” Szijjártó said.

Virologist Criticizes Sinopharm Production in Hungary's Vaccine Factory
Virologist Criticizes Sinopharm Production in Hungary's Vaccine Factory

"It is not clear to me why we are not trying to use state-of-the-art technology, especially if it is related to Hungarians."Continue reading

He noted Hungary will begin operating its own vaccine plant in late 2022, adding that Thursday’s deal was preliminary. The Russian jab is especially popular in the East, the minister said, adding that new production capacities would be needed to meet growing demand.

“If Hungary can profit from this, then I think it’s worth having a go at it,” Szijjártó said.

He said the planned cooperation in vaccine production would be a continuation of the recent partnership between Hungary and Russia. Szijjártó praised Manturov for his role in allowing Hungary to be the first European country to purchase Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, noting that all of the doses had been delivered on time.

He said the partnership had enabled one million Hungarians who received Sputnik jabs to develop immunity to the virus and Hungary to be the first European country to reopen its economy.

Sputnik V Strengthens Hungary-Russia Friendship Despite Slow Shipments
Sputnik V Strengthens Hungary-Russia Friendship Despite Slow Shipments

The Hungarian government has maintained positive diplomatic relations with Russia for years, and the vaccine procurement deals Hungary made with China and Russia have helped played a significant role in the vaccination of 16 percent of its population with at least one dose, compared to the European Union’s average vaccination rate of 9 percent. Despite […]Continue reading

As regards Russia’s announcement that it will resume regular flights to Hungary from July 10, Szijjártó said that for the time being entry to Russia was restricted to business travelers and those visiting relatives. He expressed hope that Russia and Hungary could soon lift entry restrictions for each other’s citizens and recognise each other’s immunity certificates, talks on which are ongoing.

Featured photo illustration by Attila Balázs/MTI