January 29, 2021 16:27 GMT – RFE/RL
Lawmakers in Ukraine’s parliament have overwhelmingly voted to ban the approval of vaccines made in Russia.
At the same time, the parliament on January 29 eased the process for registering vaccines from the United States, the European Union, China, India, and Mexico.
Ukraine has so far not started vaccinating its citizens.
The government has said it expects to receive 100,000 to 200,000 doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer Inc and Germany’s BioNTech under the global COVAX initiative in February.
Authorities have repeatedly said Kyiv will not approve or use vaccines from Russia, with which the country’s ties are strained over the illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014 and its ongoing support to separatists in eastern Ukraine. The conflict has killed more than 14,000 people.
“One political force just created some hysteria over the registration of the Russian vaccine,” Ukraine’s Health Minister Maksym Stepanov told a televised briefing.
“I’ll say this once: You can be hysterical for a very long time, no one will register the Russian vaccine in the country.”
The Health Ministry has recorded a steady decline in new infections, deaths, and hospitalizations in recent weeks.
More than 1.2 million coronavirus cases have been recorded since last March. More than 22,000 people have died from the virus.