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Russia steps up vaccine diplomacy in Maghreb, North Africa

Russia expands its area of influence in the Maghreb as Tunisia and Algeria receive batches of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, raising questions about Moscow's motives.
This picture taken on March 9, 2021 shows the arrival of a shipment of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 coronavirus vaccines in Tunisia's capital's Tunis-Carthage International Airport.

The first batch of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Tunisia on March 9, three days after a phone conversation between Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The shipment of 30,000 doses came nearly a month after its scheduled delivery and after repeated delays of other types of vaccines. Tunisian Minister of Health Faouzi Mahdi had attributed on Feb. 18 the delay in supply of the vaccines to the conditions imposed by the suppliers.

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