Russia, Turkey agree ceasefire deal for Syria’s Idlib

UNTV News   •   March 6, 2020   •   752

Turkey and Russia agreed a ceasefire deal on Thursday (March 5) in Syria’s Idlib region, their two leaders said after talks in Moscow to contain a conflict which has displaced nearly a million people in three months.

Russia and Turkey back opposing sides in Syria’s nine-year conflict, with Moscow supporting President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey backing some rebel groups. Several previous deals to end the fighting in Idlib have collapsed.

The latest offensive in Idlib by Assad’s forces, backed by Russian air strikes, sparked what the United Nations says may be the worst humanitarian crisis yet in a war that has driven millions from their homes and killed hundreds of thousands.

The Russian military has, however, repeatedly played down any talk of a refugee crisis and accused Turkey of violating international law by pouring enough troops into Idlib to make up a mechanised division.

Turkey, which has the second largest army in the transatlantic NATO alliance, has funnelled troops and equipment into the region in recent weeks to resist the Syrian government advance and prevent a wave of refugees over its southern border.

Russia also raced to reinforce its troops in Syria by sea and air before the Putin-Erdogan talks.

Assad himself has vowed to recapture “every inch” of Syrian territory, but his depleted military depends heavily on Moscow’s power and Iranian-backed militias on the ground. Iran was not a party to Thursday’s deal.

Speaking on Russian TV channel Russia 24, Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad said the Russian-Syrian plan was to normalise relations with Turkey, despite their aggressive behaviour.

“Our common goal with Russia was and remains to make Turkey change its policy from the support of the terrorists and to bring our relations back to normal.” Assad said,”For us and for you (Russia), Turkey is a neighbour state, it would be natural to have normal relations with a neighbour state.

The fighting, which raised the prospect of a direct clash between Russia and Turkey, has killed around 60 Turkish troops in the region since last month. Two hours after the joint announcement Turkey’s defence ministry said two soldiers were killed after Syrian government forces opened fire in Idlib.

Putin expressed his regret to Erdogan about the recent killing of 34 Turkish troops in an air strike, saying the Syrian military had not known of their location.

Ahead of the talks, at least 16 civilians were killed when Russian air strikes hit a gathering of displaced people near the town of Maarat Misrin in Idlib, according to civil defence workers helping clear the rubble and search for survivors.

Russia denies targeting civilians.

Turkey hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees and says it cannot handle more. Seeking to extract more funding and support from Europe over Idlib, Ankara said last week it would no longer abide by a 2016 deal in which it stopped migrants crossing into the European Union in return for billions of euros in aid. (Reuters)

(Production: Anton Derbenev)

Philippines gets first batch of Sputnik light COVID jabs

Robie de Guzman   •   November 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Friday received its first shipment of Sputnik Light COVID-19 vaccine doses made by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.

The NTF said the shipment of 5,000 Sputnik Light jabs arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 at past 2 p.m. This batch was donated by Kremlin.

Sputnik Light is the single-shot version of Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine. It was approved for emergency use in the Philippines in August.

Aside from this, the Philippines also received additional 2,805,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccine procured by the government.

The latest shipment brings the country’s vaccine arrivals to more than 130 million, the NTF said.

 

PH expects to receive 190K doses of Sputnik V vaccine this September – Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Around 190,000 doses of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine (component 2) manufactured by Russian firm Gamaleya Research Institute are expected to arrive in the country this month, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Friday.

Galvez said the additional vaccine supply may be delivered by the weekend or early next week.

“This shipment of Sputnik V vaccines shall be used for the second dose. After this, we will be receiving the single-shot Sputnik V Light as we move forward with our vaccine rollout,” he said.

Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19, eased concerns among those who have already received their first dose of Sputnik V.

“As per our vaccine experts from the Department of Health, the gap between first and second doses of Sputnik V can be as long as six months, so no need to worry because the vaccines are arriving soon,” Galvez explained.

This month, the country expects to receive the first batch of government-procured Sputnik V Light vaccines consisting of 1 million doses.

“The Sputnik V Light is more efficient because we will be able to protect more people faster. This would eliminate the problem wherein people fail to return for their second dose,” Galvez noted.

As of September 15, the country has received a total of 57,547,610 vaccine doses from various manufacturers, of which over 36 million doses were procured by the national government.

The country has also breached the 40 million mark in terms of COVID-19 jabs administered, with 40,030,388 shots given as of September 15. Of this number, 17,675,959 were fully vaccinated and 22,354,429 received their first dose.

Delivery of 50K doses of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines moved to a later date — NTF

Robie de Guzman   •   June 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The delivery of some 50,000 doses of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine has been deferred, National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Wednesday.

Galvez said the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has informed the Philippine government that the delivery of additional Sputnik V vaccine doses will be moved to a later date due to ongoing upgrades and latest developments on the vaccine.

The vaccine jabs were supposed to be delivered on June 20.

Galvez said no definite date has been set for the delivery of the vaccines.

These doses were intended as the second dose for those who were inoculated with the brand’s Component I vaccines earlier this month.

“We have already informed all local government units who have administered the first dose of Sputnik V to their constituents that the schedule for the second shot will likewise be pushed back and will be rescheduled,” Galvez said.

Malacañang, meanwhile, assured the public that the delay in the delivery of the brand’s Component II will not compromise the vaccine’s efficacy.

“So wala pong epekto yung kaunting delay, it will even be more ideal for efficacy na madelay yung second dose ng Sputnik V,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

“Nagkaroon na po ng communication yung EUA (emergency use authorization) ng Sputnik V ay papaamyendahan po, apparently mas mataas po ang efficacy kung mas matagal ang period ng first dose sa second dose,” he added.

The NTF said the country’s Food and Drug Administration is currently studying the request of Gamaleya Research Institute, developer of Sputnik V, to amend the interval period between the two doses of the vaccine.

Gamaleya wants to extend the interval period to 90 days from the current 21 days.

The Philippines has so far received 180,000 doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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