Sputnik V, which in February was announced to be 92 per cent effective, has been approved for emergency use in 64 countries but has yet to be authorised in the European Union.
The Mexican health ministry said yesterday production of the jab in the country was likely to begin in the final week of June.
Russia has also developed and registered two other coronavirus vaccines but their clinical data have not been through a stringent peer review like Sputnik V.
“Our vaccines draw from technology and platforms that have been in operation for decades,” Putin told a video conference with senior Russian officials in charge of the pandemic response.
“They are as reliable as a Kalashnikov assault rifle, as one European specialist said.”
Putin was referring to comments made by an Austrian doctor in February. Florian Thalhammer, from the Medical University of Vienna, reportedly told Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung that “Sputnik V is like a Kalashnikov rifle, a Russian rifle: simple, reliable and effective”.
Like the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson jabs, the Sputnik V and Sputnik Light vaccines use a genetically modified common cold virus to deliver the gene of the coronavirus to the body.
Developers of Sputnik Light argue the single-dose vaccine provides sufficient protection at least for the short term and could serve as a major weapon fighting the pandemic.
Sputnik V is widely available in Russia, especially in urban centres like Moscow and St Petersburg, but the uptake has been sluggish: only about 10 per cent of Russians have received at least one dose so far.
Russia on Friday recorded 8386 new coronavirus cases and 376 new deaths.
South Africa’s ban on “canned” lion hunts, ending a trade long opposed by conservationists, has raised questions over what will happen to thousands of lions that were bred for shooting.
The policy change follows a year-long review which concluded that letting hunters shoot lions in captivity had a “negative impact” on the country’s reputation.
The move was welcomed last night by conservationists who say many of the lions are kept in inhumane conditions and suffer from in-breeding but it has also sparked concerns for the well-being of the canned trade’s remaining stock of lions, believed to be anything up to 12,000.
“However, a plan does need to be put in place so that as many lions as possible can lead a dignified life for the rest of their days. Given how much money the industry has made out of this sordid trade, it is not unreasonable that they should put measures in place to look after them.” Conservationists have long denounced canned hunting, whereby lions raised in captivity are then moved to slightly larger enclosures before being shot by paying clients. Hunters find it easier than shooting a lion in the wild.
Cubs raised for canned hunting are taken away from their mothers, who are sometimes made to breed three to four times more than they would in the wild.