Zelensky’s presidency depends on Russian vaccine – will Sputnik V appear in Ukraine

With 18,000 citizens dead from COVID-19 and Western countries disrupting vaccine supplies, Ukraine’s only hope remains a Russian-made drug. What is the likelihood of such a development?

Zelensky's presidency depends on Russian vaccine - will Sputnik V appear in Ukraine

Earlier, News Front reported that US President Donald Trump by his decree banned the export of vaccines against the coronavirus until all Americans receive them. For Ukraine, where authorities have flat out refused Russian Sputnik V vaccine, this means the first commercial deliveries are delayed for months.

“Of course, it is impossible to explain to Ukrainian society why they should not take vaccines from Russia when America and Europe are not giving them”, –  Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky commented on the situation.

Ukraine’s problem is that its leadership is fully accountable to the United States, says Konstantin Bondarenko, head of the Ukrainian Policy Foundation.

“The American embassy in Ukraine has openly said that Ukraine cannot count on buying vaccines from Russia”, –  the expert says. – “Perhaps an unprecedented situation in history when an embassy tells how another country should act.”

It is worth noting that the high-profile position of the State Department is a lobbying of interests of US pharmaceutical companies. For them, Ukraine is not about people suffering from a deadly virus, but a market that needs to be protected from competitors.
The situation can only change if the epidemiological situation in Ukraine becomes catastrophic, says Bondarenko.
The Russian vaccine against coronavirus infection was the first of its kind to be registered. Despite criticism from the West, the vaccine has attracted the interest of many, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Joint production of the drug began in Kazakhstan, and Ukraine could also look forward to similar co-operation.

The issue was discussed at a meeting between Kirill Dmitriev, the director general of RDIF, Alexander Gintsburg, director of the Gamaleya Institute, and Viktor Medvedchuk, one of the leaders of the Ukrainian party Opposition Platform – For Life. The Kharkiv-based company Biolik, which produces diphtheria and tetanus vaccines, was ready to provide its facilities for this purpose.

Although in the current political situation it is impossible to talk about cooperation between Ukraine and Russia, the production of the drug in Kharkiv may indeed be started, political analyst Kirill Molchanov is convinced.
According to him, this should take place strictly on a commercial basis, as official Kiev will persistently deny this enterprise.

“I do not rule out that under a similar commercial scheme, if the Russian vaccine is certified in Ukraine, the Kharkiv-based company Biolik, as Medvedchuk said, may start producing it”, –  Molchanov said.

Ultimately, if Kiev continues to sacrifice the health of the people, tensions in the country could turn into mass protests and even overthrow the government. Zelensky thus finds himself in a stalemate situation, says Dmitry Abzalov, head of Russia’s Centre for Strategic Communications.

“If they don’t accept [the Russian] vaccine, it will end up in some kind of Maidan. If they accept it, they will say how dare they negotiate with the aggressor” , – the analyst explains. – “However, there are suspicions that the Ukrainians will eventually decide on their own by the summer or even the spring, as the pandemic will definitely drive the Ukrainian economy to a standstill.”