A Russian medical worker displays a trial vaccine against COVID-19 in a post-registration phase of the test at outpatient hospital number 68 in Moscow, Russia, 17 September 2020. Russia registered the new vaccine called 'Sputnik V' against Coronavirus Sars-Cov-2 and opens the stage of its massive testing. EPA-EFE/SERGEI ILNITSKY

The Kremlin does not deem it possible to impose penalties in Russia on citizens who refuse to get vaccinated against coronavirus because this measure would contradict the social nature of the Russian state, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

The press secretary commented on a proposal by virologist and corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Lukashev that such penalties be introduced in Russia.

“No, it seems to me that such measures are unrealistic in our country,” the Kremlin spokesman said. In Peskov’s opinion, such measures “contradict the social nature” of the Russian state.

“The social nature of our state is enshrined in our Constitution and President [Vladimir] Putin is the person who is most of all committed to the social nature of our state,” the Kremlin spokesman explained

In this situation, the emphasis should be made on citizens’ consciousness and the need for them to understand that “there is no other method of protecting their lives except for getting vaccinated,” Peskov stressed.

It is necessary to fight the coronavirus pandemic “by all available methods, primarily, by explaining that there is no alternative to the vaccination campaign,” the press secretary emphasized.

Virologist Lukashev said in an interview with the radio station Govorit Moskva (Moscow Speaking) that he had suggested putting up for discussion fines to the tune of 5,000 rubles ($70) for refusing to vaccinate, “at least for high-risk groups of the population.”.