The European Union views Ukraine as an important partner and will continue to provide political, financial and technical assistance to the country, including in overcoming the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Executive Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis.
He said this after talks with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Brussels on Wednesday, according to an Ukrinform correspondent.
"Ukraine is high on the European agenda and we continue to provide political, financial and technical assistance. The EU is supporting Ukraine to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways. First, we have re-oriented several ongoing and future assistance programs, with more than EUR 190 million going to Ukraine to help meet its COVID-19-related needs. In addition, we are exploring options to help provide vaccines to Ukraine," Dombrovskis said.
According to him, as part of the COVAX program, Ukraine will receive 117,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in February, and 2.2 to 3.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine during the first half of the year. In addition, the European Commission is assisting Poland in reselling 1.2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Ukraine. The EU purchase agreements allow for reselling at no profit. The Commission is helping with contractual agreements and with transport and delivery from Poland to Ukraine through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
"We are looking forward to seeing the vaccination start in Ukraine this month. However, we are concerned about the impact of Russian disinformation about the vaccination process in Ukraine and are ready to assist in the fight against disinformation and vaccine skepticism," Dombrovskis added.
A Ukrainian government delegation headed by Shmyhal began a working visit to Brussels on February 9. Shmyhal has already met with European Council President Charles Michel and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The program of the visit also includes a series of working meetings with representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament. On February 11, Shmyhal will lead the talks in the format of the EU-Ukraine Association Council.