1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Merkel, Macron, Putin discuss Sputnik V vaccine

March 31, 2021

The three leaders talked about issues of global security as well as the possibility of authorizing and producing the Russian-developed Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in the EU.

A shipment of the Sputnik V vaccine in Iran
The Sputnik V vaccine was the world's first to be officially registered, but this drew concern from experts who thought authorization may have been rushedImage: Saeed Kaari/dpa/AP/picture alliance

The leaders of Germany, France and Russia held a conference call on Tuesday in which they discussed security issues and the potential registration of the Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.

The Kremlin said after the call that the three leaders had talked about shipment and joint-production of the Russian-developed jab, pending authorization from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Russian President Vladimir Putin also fielded questions from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron regarding the situation of the jailed opposition activist Alexei Navalny.

Another possible vaccine option for the EU

The EMA began a fast-track rolling review of the Sputnik V vaccine in early March.

Experts from the EMA are scheduled to visit Russia in April to scrutinize the results of clinical trials and production processes.

More than 50 countries worldwide are waiting for the Russian jab meaning that Russian production of the vaccine would not be able to meet European demand, should it get authorization.

The EU is in need of more vaccination doses to boost its faltering vaccination drive. Merkel has previously expressed willingness to accept the Russian vaccine if it gets the go-ahead from the EMA.

European production of the vaccine is already planned to begin in Italy in July. The Russian pharmaceutical firm R-Pharm is also planning to produce the jab in the Bavarian town Illertissen from the summer.

It is not yet clear if or when the EMA will grant authorization to Sputnik V.

"This evaluation is taking place according to the same norms that apply to all other vaccines," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told the German news agency dpa.

What else did the three leaders discuss?

The trio also discussed security issues in Ukraine, Libya and Syria. The three leaders gave their unanimous support to the Iranian nuclear deal.

Ukraine has been a diplomatic sticking point since Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014 and backed separatist forces against the government in the east of the country.

The jailing of Navalny, who spent several months recovering from poisoning in Berlin, has been another contentious issue.

Putin answered the questions posed by Merkel and Macron about the anti-Kremlin activist. The Russian president also expressed his readiness to "restore normal unpoliticized interaction with the EU if it shows interest in that," the Kremlin said.

ab/nm (AP, dpa)