One reason the Russians are demanding Sputnik V back is that Slovakia did not pay

Matovič emphasised that it was not the actual reason. The actual reason according to him was that it was “a matter of honour”.

Igor MatovičIgor Matovič (Source: Sme)

Finance Minister Igor Matovič finally organised a press conference at the Government’s Office on April 15 after several days of avoiding journalists.

Matovič repeatedly attacked Zuzana Baťová, director of the State Institute for Drug Control (ŠÚKL), and journalists. He called the ŠÚKL a hostile institution and said that they have been publishing “political hoaxes”.

Matovič also complained that he has been publicly lynched and expected praise for what he called his daring deed of bringing Sputnik V to Slovakia.

Slovakia did not pay

He went on to cite a messages from Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Fund for Direct Investments, directly from his phone, according to which he said, the Russian side asked for the vaccines to be returned as soon as possible which should not be a problem because Slovakia had not paid for them.

State controllers will not decide on Sputnik V. They do not have enough data Read more 

He went on to say that the RDIF also stated in their letter dated April 6 that the reason for requesting the return of the vaccines was that Slovakia failed to pay.

Matovič emphasised that this was not the actual reason. The actual reason according to him was that it was “a matter of honour”.

The finance minister also said that he believed Slovakia had paid for the vaccines on April 6, the very same day the letter from Russia arrived. Matovič said he was later informed that the Russian side returned the payment on April 15.

“I am afraid we might lose the vaccines,” he noted.

Budapest chosen by Matovič

Matovič stressed that the Russian side had requested that Slovakia has the vaccines tested in an OMCL laboratory, after they saw the statement issued by the ŠÚKL. Matovič said he chose Budapest, because it was the closest laboratory and that his Russian partners had not insisted on a particular country or a particular laboratory.

Finance Minister Matovič flew to Moscow for Sputnik negotiations Read more 

“Russia is a big country but they deserve our support,” he noted and repeated that his Russian negotiation partners were offended by the ŠÚKL’s statement.

He also admitted that he has not read the purchase contract for the Sputnik V vaccines between Slovakia and Russia. The contract was “probably” signed by the then health minister Marek Krajčí, he said.

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