Putin and Merkel Discuss Possible Joint Vaccine Production
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin has discussed possibilites for closer cooperation in the coronavirus pandemic situation. The two leaders are said to have discussed possible ways of jointly producing vaccines during a phone call.
The health ministries of thw two countries will continue the talks on the matter together with exeprts.
German government sources in Berlin confirmed that the two sides had discussed ways to combat the pandemic.
Russia approved the use of its Sputnik V vaccine in the summer. A second vaccine has been approved and vaccinations have been taking place since early December.
Germany began its vaccination drive on December 27, together with other EU member states, after the European Medicines Agency cleared for use the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine.
The Russian leader had already expressed his hopes for closer bilateral ties with Berlin in 2021 in a New Year's letter addressed to Merkel and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Merkel and Putin also discussed the long-running conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Relations between Moscow and Berlin were put under immense strain in recent years due to the poisoning of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny and a 2015 hacking attack on the German parliament, in which the Kremlin has denied any involvement.
The European Union nonetheless sanctioned Russia for the crime, prompting Moscow to issue its own sanctions, predominantly targeting German government officials.
Despite the tensions, economic cooperation between the two countries continues in the form of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which has angered the United States amid concerns that it will increase Europe's energy dependence on Russia.
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