Ukraine: Ukrainian minister says ‘information attacks’ hit vaccine buying

The Ukrainian health minister said on Tuesday that Kyiv’s coronavirus vaccine purchases were being hampered by “dirty information attacks” that have triggered a corruption investigation against his ministry.

Maksym Stepanov denied wrongdoing after the anti-corruption agency NABU launched an inquiry this month into the procurement of China’s Sinovac vaccines through an intermediary importer, Lekhim.

Ukraine lags behind most European countries in securing COVID-19 vaccines and has yet to start mass vaccinations.

Stepanov said the accusations of corruption were costing the country dear.

“Due to dirty information attacks, we have already started seeing reluctance on the part of prospective vaccine companies regarding future cooperation,” he told a morning briefing.

The disinformation aimed to disrupt Ukraine’s vaccination campaign and force it to turn to Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, Stepanov added.

Kyiv has dismissed the idea of buying the Sputnik vaccine because of enduring anger over Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its support for pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

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