Russian ambassador pledges to donate COVID-19 vaccines in meeting with Seychelles' President
The two-dose vaccine is one of the three vaccines in the world with the efficacy of over 90 percent. (Marco Verch/Flicker) CC BY 2.0
(Seychelles News Agency) - Russia is soon going to help Seychelles in the fight against COVID-19 through the donation of $500,000 to the relief fund and a shipment of Russian-made vaccines, Sputnik V, said the country's resident ambassador on Tuesday.
The Russian Ambassador to Seychelles, Artyom Kozhin, spoke during a courtesy call to President Wavel Ramkalawan at State House, Victoria. This is the first official meeting between the diplomat and Ramkalawan, who was elected last year.
Kozhin was accredited to the island nation in the western Indian Ocean in March 2020.
"Russia wants to offer its help to Seychelles especially during these turbulent times when the world is fighting COVID. The Russian business community wants Seychelles to be a COVID-free country and wants to support the national COVID-19 relief fund as this fund is regarded as a very important instrument in fighting the pandemic," said Kozhin.
He added that the contributions are expected to come within days, with the financial aid coming first.
|The meeting was the first official one between the Russian Ambassador and President Ramkalawan who was elected last year. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
"Our parties are working on a shipment of the Russian vaccine to Seychelles and I hope that we will complete all the formalities very soon. First, it will be a test party, a limited number of doses, mainly for testing the logistics, the storage facilities. Of course, our doctors and specialists will have to hold some discussions on how to use the vaccine so there has to be some sort of a manual. For that, we decided that the best option will be to send a test party. If it is successful, we are ready to go ahead," said Kozhin.
According to the Sputnik V website, the two-dose vaccine "is one of the three vaccines in the world with the efficacy of over 90 percent" and "the cost of one dose of the vaccine for international markets is less than $10."
As the two countries celebrate 45 years of diplomatic relations this year, having established ties in 1976, Kozhin seeks to boost the relations between Seychelles and Russia.
During the discussion, the resumption of airline connectivity between Russia and Seychelles was touched upon.
"Russian tourists have been missing Seychelles for the past year so they are eager to return and to have a good time here. I think that will be very helpful to the local economy. Russians are very generous as you know," said Kozhin.
"Seychelles is also very popular with Russian investors. Some facilities that use our investments and that are operating here quite successfully. We have a lot of investment in the hotel business and in fisheries and I think that more will come. As the ambassador of my country, I am working at promoting our relations in all fields including the economy," he continued.
The ambassador also said that Russia's contribution to the education sector of Seychelles "has been a long tradition and we are hoping that it will continue." He and his team are working closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Seychelles and the Ministry of Education to finalise details.