The European Investment Bank will provide EUR 50 million to help Ukraine combat the coronavirus.
"The funds will go towards purchasing COVID-19 vaccines and the related cold supply chain equipment that is key for the successful distribution of vaccines across the country," the EIB said in a statement on its website. "The loan reinforces Ukraine's ability to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The operation is part of the overall COVID-19 response support provided by Team Europe."
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A letter amending the Financial Agreement between Ukraine and the EIB was signed during a working visit of Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal to the EIB headquarters in Luxembourg on February 12, the Ukrainian government's press service reported.
These funds will be made available from the existing EUR 400 million Ukraine Municipal Infrastructure Programme (UMIP) being implemented by the Ministry of Communities and Territories Development. The Ukrainian Ministry of Health will implement the COVID-19 facility in cooperation with the Project Management Support Unit under UMIP to provide strategic and operational advice as well as project management support to both ministries.
Shmyhal thanked the EIB for its prompt support in counteracting the spread of COVID-19, the Cabinet's press service said.
"This will expand our capabilities in the procurement of vaccines for the population of Ukraine and modern refrigeration equipment for a chain of vaccination centers," he said.
Following a meeting with EIB President Werner Hoyer, the parties also signed a Guarantee Agreement for the development of Boryspil Airport to obtain a EUR 270 million loan for the reconstruction of flight zone No. 2.
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"Apart from qualitative modernization of the airport, we also expect to increase passenger traffic through the airport up to 56 million people in 2040, in particular by improving technical equipment, competitiveness of the company, expanding the network of routes and attracting new carriers," the prime minister commented on the signing of the document.
During the meeting with Hoyer, Shmyhal stressed that Ukraine highly appreciates the EIB's active role in supporting the Ukrainian economy, public and private sectors.
"We believe that in the near future the EIB will be able to present a new seven-year external financing mandate. We seek further cooperation, in particular in the field of financing of transport, energy sector and urban infrastructure of Ukraine," Shmyhal said.
For his part, Hoyer stressed that the EIB as an EU bank is deeply committed to supporting its neighbors in the Eastern Partnership region and Ukraine in particular. According to him, in 2020 the EIB made a record investment in Ukraine worth over EUR 1 billion.
"We started 2021 with very timely initiatives as we move towards a post-COVID-19 recovery. As the EU bank, we are ready to help alleviate the pressure of the pandemic by protecting the population of Ukraine, building resilience and supporting initiatives such as the operations signed today to support growth and recovery," the EIB President said.
COVID-19 vaccine for Ukraine
- Ukraine plans to launch a COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the middle of February 2021. The first stage is expected to take about 20 days when healthcare workers who have contacts with COVID-19 patients will get vaccinated.
- On December 30, 2020, Ukraine signed a contract for the supply of 1.9 million doses of China's Sinovac vaccine.
- On January 30, 2021, Ukrainian Deputy Health Minister, Chief Medical Officer Viktor Liashko said Ukraine would receive 117,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine within the COVAX (the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility) in February.
- From the middle of February to the end of June 2021, Ukraine will obtain 2.2 million to 3.7 million doses of an AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine.
- On February 5, Health Minister Stepanov said shipments of 12 million doses of vaccines produced by AstraZeneca and Novavax to Ukraine had been confirmed.
- In December 2020, the Health Ministry's coronavirus task force approved a COVID-19 immunization plan under which at least 50% of Ukrainians (20 million people) are to be vaccinated during 2021-2022.