Exclusive-Germany wants to buy Sputnik COVID vaccine if approved by EU -source

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FILE PHOTO: A medical specialist holds a vial of Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus in a department store in Moscow, Russia

BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany is about to start bilateral negotiations with Russia to obtain its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, a source told Reuters on Wednesday, adding that any final agreement depended on Russia providing key data to the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The European Commission told health ministers of EU member states on Wednesday that Brussels was not planning to start talks with Russia on a preliminary contract for Sputnik V as it did with other vaccine providers, a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

That is why German Health Minister Jens Spahn announced during the virtual meeting that Germany would start preliminary negotiations with Russia on a bilateral agreement to secure the vaccine, the source added.

In the preliminary talks, Germany first wants to determine which quantities Russia can deliver and when, the source said.

In any case, Germany will only buy the Russian vaccine once it has been approved by EMA and for this it is paramount that Russia provides the necessary data, the source added.

Earlier on Wednesday, the premier of Bavaria said the German region will buy 2.5 million doses of the Sputnik vaccine if it is approved by EMA.

Markus Soeder, premier of the wealthy southern German state, said the purchase would take place in July.

(Reporting by Andreas RinkeWriting by Michael NienaberEditing by Paul Carrel and Kirsti Knolle)