Russia, China reject accusations of vaccine opportunism
Speaking to reporters after talks with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted that both countries were guided by principles of "humanity" rather than geopolitical interests.
"Russia and China have been models of openness, cooperation, and mutual assistance," Lavrov said in the southern Chinese city of Guilin in comments released by his ministry.
When it comes to tackling the coronavirus pandemic, he said, it is important to be guided by "humanity and the interests of saving lives" rather than "geopolitical considerations and commercial approaches".
"Everyone, including our Western partners, who are trying to make Russia and China look like some sort of opportunists in the field of so-called 'vaccine diplomacy' should absolutely remember that," Lavrov added.
"This is absolutely divorced from reality."
"Our intention from the start is to let more people receive the vaccine as soon as possible," he said.
China, where the coronavirus originated, has been supplying several countries with vaccines, sometimes for free.
Critics in the West accuse the two powers of using the vaccines to extend their global influence, while Moscow and Beijing say Western countries are buying up and hoarding vaccines, often to the detriment of poor countries.