Ukraine formally bans registration of Russian COVID-19 vaccines

Photo: EPA Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy

Ukraine has formally banned registration of Russian-designed vaccines against coronavirus, the government said in a decree published on Wednesday. "Registration of vaccines... production of which was carried out in a state recognised by Ukrainian parliament as the state-aggressor, is prohibited," the decree, cited by Reuters, said.

One of Europe's poorest countries, Ukraine has lagged behind others in starting its vaccination programme against COVID-19, which has infected more than 1.25м Ukrainians and killed 23,934 as of 10 February.

But Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly said the country will not use Russian vaccines, like Sputnik V, calling them "a hybrid weapon of Russia against Ukraine".

Kiev and Moscow have been at loggerheads since Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and its involvement in a conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said last week Kiev had secured 20m vaccine doses from India's Serum Institute and the global COVAX scheme and the government hopes to start vaccination of its population of 41m in mid-February. It agreed in December to buy 1.9m doses from China's Sinovac Biotech at $18 per shot via a Ukrainian intermediary. Ukraine also expects to receive 1.2m doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine from Poland.

Ukrainian investigators have begun probing whether the government has bought vaccines at inflated prices. Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said on Wednesday the government had been open and transparent about procurement.

Similar articles