Mexican authorities have seized a shipment of purported Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines from a private airplane bound for Honduras, which Russia says were fake doses.
The batch of 1,155 vials containing the equivalent of 5,775 doses was hidden inside two coolers aboard the plane at an airport in the southern state of Campeche, the customs agency said late Wednesday.
The Honduran crew and passengers were referred to the attorney general's office, the statement said.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which financed the Sputnik V vaccine's development, thanked Mexico for seizing what it described as an illegal shipment of fake Sputnik V vaccines.
"Analysis of the photographs of the seized batch, including the design of containers and labels, suggests that it is a fake substance which has nothing to do with the original vaccine," it said in a statement.
"The shipment's procedure was also in violation of packaging and transportation protocols for the official Sputnik V vaccine," it added.
RDIF said that each vial of the real vaccine has a unique code to enable it to be traced to its place of origin.
It said the fake batch was "possibly aimed at discrediting" the Sputnik V vaccine.
Mexico, whose known Covid-19 death toll of around 196,000 is the third highest in the world, received the first shipment of 200,000 Sputnik V doses last month.