Russian President Vladimir Putin has declined the invitation from the UK to take part in a virtual summit aimed at mobilising resources to expedite vaccine development and equitable access. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on June 3 that the Russian President does not plan to take part in the global vaccine summit for which he had received an invitation from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The British government is set to host Gavi’s third donor pledging conference to mobilise at least $7.4 billion in additional resources for the protection of the next generation with vaccines. Gavi is a public-private global health partnership with the goal of increasing access to immunisation in poor countries. The global vaccine alliance was founded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 and partners with UN agencies like WHO, World Bank and UNICEF for support and expertise.
Russia has reported over 432,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 5,200 deaths related to the infectious disease so far. According to Johns Hopkins University data, Russia has the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases across the globe, only behind the United States and Brazil. The high number of cases prompted Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to announce that the government will be spending $70 billion on the virus recovery plan.
Last week, Putin said that the nation has passed the “peak” of the coronavirus infections, ordering to hold the postponed World War II victory parade in June. Putin told Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to begin the preparations for the parade which was earlier planned for May 9, marking 75 years since the victory over Nazi Germany.
The coronavirus pandemic has also forced Putin to postpone key public voting on the sweeping constitutional reforms which will give the Russian leader an option to run for two more terms. The referendum on the proposal was set to be held on April 22 but was postponed due to the rising cases of coronavirus in the country.
(Image credit: AP)