As of today, this country ranks 15 in terms of the number of new COVID-19 cases.

According to Chief Sanitary Inspector Viktor Lyashko, only the vaccines from the countries with the strict regulatory control will be admitted for use in Ukraine. “Only under such conditions we will give permission for a vaccine to be used”, he stressed.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health informs that negotiations are underway with the company that produces the AstraZeneca vaccine as well as with other leading world manufacturers of vaccines.

In the coming months, Ukraine expects to get eight million vaccine doses under the COVAX global initiative the purpose of which is to provide access to means of stopping the spread of COVID-19.

The Ministry plans to vaccinate 23 million citizens of Ukraine by this March. As many as 46 million doses will be needed to accomplish this goal. Lyashko added, “Vaccination will be free and voluntary. No one will be forced to do it. However, we call on everyone to be vaccinated because it is a real chance to stop the spread of the coronavirus infection. We assure that we are going to purchase a safe and high-quality vaccine”.

Apart from this, on December 30, Ukraine signed a contract with the Chinese company Sinovac for deliveries of 1.9 million doses of the vaccine against COVID-19. In commenting on the conclusion of this contract, President Zelenskyy had this to say, “The big plus of this vaccine consists in the fact that its development has not been politicized. It is not used to promote someone’s geopolitical ambitions. It is just a reliable vaccine for life and not for political propaganda for the sake of profit”. His comment deserves consideration. After all, the rivalry between the companies-manufacturers of vaccines turns into a new form of a geopolitical warfare. Many political analysts maintain that in 2021 the vaccine and the vaccine diplomacy will determine the balance of power in the international scene.

While the European Union and the United States say that they are going at first vaccinate their own population, Russia is seeking to capture new spheres of influence with the help of its vaccine.  Despite the fact that the vaccine has not passed the third stage of tests and its efficiency has not been recognized yet by the World Health Organization, the Kremlin declares that many countries have already placed orders for billions of doses of their vaccine.  Without any doubt, analysts stress, Russia’s vaccine Sputnik-V is an instrument of Russian foreign policy and the way to demonstrate its international influence. Russia’s rhetoric reflects the classical Kremlin propaganda about the advantages of the Sputnik-V vaccine over Western vaccines. They call it a fake the information about the lack of the confirmation of its effectiveness.

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security, Josep Borrell, said on Monday that Russian public media had spread false information on European and American COVID-19 vaccines in countries where it wants to sell its own shot against the coronavirus.

“Western vaccine developers are openly mocked on multi-lingual Russian state-controlled media, which has in some cases led to absurd claims that vaccines will turn people into monkeys…  Such narratives are apparently directed at countries where Russia wants to sell its own vaccine, Sputnik V,” Josep Borrell said in a blog post.

Ukraine is one of such countries on which the Kremlin tries to impose its vaccine. And it is done with the help of Ukrainian television channels controlled by Viktor Medvedchuk, one of the leaders of the pro-Russian party “The Opposition Platform ‒ for Life”. They tell a fairytale about “a good Russia saving Ukrainians from coronavirus and about a bad Kyiv taking from ordinary people a chance to survive for the sake of its own political interests”. National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danylov informs that today the President, the government and the people of Ukraine are subjected to an information and psychological attack.

And all this is done despite the fact that 58% of Russians are not ready to be vaccinated by the Sputnik-V vaccine, as the recent sociological surveys have shown. Moreover, Dmitri Peskov, the press secretary of the Russian President, has explained that Vladimir Putin has not been vaccinated yet against covonavirus because he just cannot use the uncertified vaccine.

It goes without saying that the Ukrainian authorities are not going to purchase any unconfirmed vaccine from the country-aggressor. The President, the Prime Minister and heads of the leading parliamentary factions have made an unambiguous statement to this effect. And Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the Russian vaccine a hybrid weapon of Russia against Ukraine.

This opinion is supported by Ukrainian publicist Vitaliy Portnikov. Here’s what he wrote, “The chief Russian patient Vladimir Putin is waiting for the final and confirmed results of the tests. And, in fact, his attitude is quite understandable. He behaves as any responsible man will do who cares about his health. I would do the same if I was offered to be vaccinated by one of the Russian vaccines. I would wait for the end of the tests or even better – I’d wait for the Western vaccines to appear at the market. It’s somehow safer. Anyway, if the Russian President does decide to use a Western vaccine, his press secretary will unlikely to inform us about this”.

The newspaper Voice of Ukraine