Moscow/Bratislava, April 8 (TASR) – Slovak Finance Minister Igor Matovic (OLANO), who as prime minister in early March arranged the purchase of the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia, announced from his trip to Moscow on Thursday that he was told there that Slovakia should return the vaccine and the relevant contract should be terminated.
Calling opponents of the use of the vaccine in Slovakia “idiots”, Matovic reproached them on Facebook for “having taken the health of a million people in Slovakia hostage”.
“You can pop champagne,” wrote Matovic in reference to the latest developments, stressing that he “won’t give up”, however. He added that he’ll present more details from his trip to Moscow at a press conference on Friday morning.
Russian agency RIA Novosti earlier reported that the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) asked Slovakia to return a batch of Sputnik V vaccine. RDIF allegedly sent a letter to the Slovak Government on Tuesday, “requesting the vaccine be returned due to multiple violations, so it can be used in other countries”.
A government crisis emerged in Slovakia following the purchase and the delivery of the first consignment of the Russian vaccine in early March. Matovic, then as prime minister, went to welcome the vaccine at an airport. Two minor coalition partners protested against the purchase, complaining also about Matovic’s overall style in politics, and demanded his resignation. In the end, Matovic swapped his place with finance minister Eduard Heger (OLANO).