President Vladimir Putin has revealed that he continues to oppose compulsory vaccination against Covid-19, despite the country's ever-worsening case numbers. He did, however, encourage all citizens to get inoculated.

Speaking at his annual 'Direct Line' call-in show on Wednesday, Putin noted that mass vaccine uptake is the only way to halt the further spread of Covid-19, but said he would not force any Russians to take the jab.

"I once said, as you may recall, that I do not support compulsory vaccination. And I continue to hold the same point of view," he explained.

Last month, Putin revealed his view that inoculation should not be forced on the population, but each person should choose to get it voluntarily after realizing its importance.

The president's comments come as many Russian regions have introduced compulsory jabs for workers in certain sectors. In Moscow, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin signed a decree making vaccination mandatory for employees in a range of public-facing industries, including catering, transport, and museums. Those who refuse to be injected will not be sacked but may face suspension without pay until the pandemic has subsided.

Putin did, however, note that he supports the legal rights of local government to impose compulsory vaccinations, even if he does not agree with creating a mandatory program at federal level. Critics have argued that's a way of shifting responsibility away from the Kremlin.

Comment: Which effectively means that he supports mandatory vaccinations. He can't weasel his way out of this.

The president also revealed that 23 million Russians have been vaccinated against the virus, and encouraged more citizens to join those who have been jabbed. Thus far, the country has approved four domestic Covid-19 vaccines, with Sputnik V being most well-known. On 'Direct Line,' Putin revealed this was the shot he'd received in March.