18 May 2020 17:41

Moscow categorically opposed to inquiry against China over Covid-19, sees such accusations as groundless - Matviyenko

MOSCOW. May 18 (Interfax) - Russia is categorically opposed to any investigations being opened against China over the spread of the novel coronavirus and sees such accusations voiced against Beijing as groundless, Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said.

"Of course, Russia is against any such unsubstantiated investigations, unfounded accusations. We'll be categorically opposed to this," Matviyenko told Interfax on Monday.

"Measures that were insufficient in a number of countries and the negative development of the situation surrounding the coronavirus epidemic have prompted this search for culprits," she said.

"Instead of analyzing their own mistakes, what was done wrong, and where [work] should be stepped up, they began shouldering responsibility onto others, including China, groundlessly accusing it of as of yet unclear what, because there is no evidence," Matviyenko said.

She also said that "China was the first to bear the brunt."

"And as a result of competent, professional restrictive measures, strict isolation rules, and quarantine, it [China] managed to cope with it, accumulate experience in fighting coronavirus, and give other countries a respite of 1-1.5 months," Matviyenko said.

She also expressed regret that "not all of our partners took the impending threat seriously, and not all of them took exhaustive measures in time."

"Someone has an electoral period, others have some other political considerations. Therefore, they started to look for culprits, shoulder responsibility onto others, including China, and speak not of international cooperation in establishing the cause of its emergence, but of appointing the world's culprit, assigning blame for the emergence of coronavirus," Matviyenko said.

"The politicization of such processes is very dangerous. This is a matter for serious, great concern," she said, calling on countries "to jointly create a global system of epidemiological safety."

Matviyenko said she is convinced that today, "instead of vying for who will be the first to develop a vaccine, it's necessary to unite efforts and as soon as possible develop a vaccine, which will be available to all people, all humankind, and all countries."

"But what's happening today is a tug of war... who will be the first to do this," she said.

U.S. President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans have repeatedly accused Beijing of failing to warn the world about the gravity and the scope of the Covid-19 outbreak. Trump has also said that he stands ready to consider possible sanctions against China, if China does not cooperate in investigating the reasons behind the spread of the novel coronavirus.