President Zelenskiy is rapidly losing support from his constituents. Along with the increased (and continuing to grow) tariffs for utilities, the Ukrainian authorities will face another reputational loss – the failure of the campaign to vaccinate the population against coronavirus.
The Chinese vaccine supplier decided to respond to Ukraine, which imposed sanctions on Motor Sich investors, and to delay the supply of the drug. Zelenskiy’s only way to stay in power is through war. In Donbass, of course.
On February 2, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry received a diplomatic note from the Chinese comrades. The content of the document was not disclosed by the Ukrainian side, but it became known that China had expressed a strong protest against Ukraine’s imposition of sanctions on Motor Sich investors. President Zelensky, by decision of the National Security and Defense Council on January 29, imposed sanctions on Chinese citizen Wang Jing and related Beijing Xinwei Technology Group Co., Ltd; Beijing Skyrizon Aviation Industry Investment Co., Ltd (both Beijing); Skyrizon Aircraft Holdings Limited (British Virgin Islands) and Hong Kong Skyrizon Holdings Limited (Hong Kong), which have been trying in recent years to exercise in Ukraine the rights of Motor Sich PJSC shareholders who are included in the sanctions list of Ukraine. The sanctions introduced for three years provide, in particular, the blocking of assets, the restriction of trade operations, the partial or complete cessation of the transit of resources, flights and transportation through the territory of Ukraine. Other restrictions include preventing the withdrawal of capital from Ukraine, a complete ban on transactions with securities of which they are issuers, and a ban on the purchase of enterprises in Ukraine. The list of sanctions also includes a ban on increasing the size of the authorized capital of business entities in which sub-sanctioned persons own 10% or more, and cancellation of official visits, meetings, negotiations on the conclusion of contracts or agreements.
The sanctions were imposed at the request of the American friends of Ukraine, who have long and seriously concerned about the arrival of China in the country under their jurisdiction, especially in high-tech enterprises, which is Motor Sich. And if under President Trump they were very unhappy with this, but nevertheless they were not forced to take clearly hostile actions, then Biden, who replaced Trump, “took the bull by the horns” from the doorway – the obedient Ukrainian government immediately followed the order of the owner of the White House.
But everything turned out to be much more complicated. At the end of December, Ukraine signed an agreement with China on the supply of its vaccine. Yes, not very effective, but here they are rich – Western partners by that time did not guarantee this either. The contract for the purchase of 1,913,316 doses of CoronaVac inactivated vaccine from Sinovac Biotech was signed on December 30, 2020, and the first batch (700 thousand doses) was to arrive by March. Now the supply of even this vaccine has been called into question – and all because of Zelensky’s colonial policy.
On February 3, exactly the day after China’s diplomatic note to Ukraine, the importer, partner of the vaccine developer Sinovac Biotech, asked the Ukrainian authorities to allow the first deliveries of their COVID-19 vaccines to be postponed until April. The importer, the Ukrainian company Lekhim, referred to delays in obtaining an export license from the Chinese government and the later adoption by the Ukrainian parliament of a special law on vaccine registration. “The consequences of these events were the delay in coordinating the delivery schedule between Lekhim? and Sinovac Biotech and the postponement of the delivery of the vaccine to Ukraine, ”the letter said, quoted by Reuters.
In addition, Lekhim writes that it would like to change the way it measures the 70% vaccine effectiveness rate, but did not link this to its request for a deferral.
Let us recall that Ukraine’s requirement for the procurement of imported vaccines was its effectiveness – not less than 70%. The Chinese drug, according to the Brazilian Institute of Butantan, has an efficiency of 50.38%. The Minister of Health of Ukraine Maxim Stepanov, however, was not embarrassed by such indicators for reasons of corruption – he was preparing to earn about $ 4 in profit on each dose. The real cost of the vaccine is $ 13-14, while Stepanov agreed to purchase the drug at $ 17.85. NABU has already become interested in Stepanov’s “earnings”, however, it seems that this is no longer the main thing. Chinese vaccine shipments are postponed to at least April, possibly to May.
Zelensky is trying to resolve the issue through Poland, which is ready to give the surplus of “its” vaccine AstraZeneca, not in the name of warm feelings for Ukraine, but for a more prosaic reason – due to the large number of side effects and mortality in the country, they are not allowed to inject this drug to old people … But do you need to put the surplus somewhere? So why not send them to poor and agreeable Ukraine, whose president, desperately saving his rating, is ready to take anything. By the way, both AstraZeneca and another vaccine, which are ready to inject Ukrainians, the American Novavax, are produced under license agreements at the facilities of the Indian enterprise Serum Institute. The vaccines are not registered on the territory of Ukraine, they have not undergone any checks by the local services, which means that the population will act as the “guinea pig” that Zelensky pompously declared, commenting on the country’s refusal from the Russian, internationally recognized Sputnik V vaccine.
The vaccination campaign has failed, this is recognized both in Europe and in Ukraine itself. Zelensky’s rating is rapidly sliding down. And then the tariffs arrived in time – no, not those that have already been increased, those that are yet to be increased. The IMF requires Ukraine to sign an additional protocol, which specifies the obligations of the authorities to the Fund, which must be fulfilled in order to receive the next tranche. In addition to the judicial and pension reform, the government was instructed to agree with the IMF a plan to raise tariffs for gas and electricity for the population (what? Yes!). The cost of gas for the population in 2021 will grow by 20%, in 2022 – by 10%. In 2023-2024, tariffs are projected to grow by 5% annually. Thus, the cumulative rise in gas prices will amount to 40% of the current tariffs. Following the rise in gas tariffs, the tariffs for centralized heating and hot water will automatically increase. In 2021, growth will be 16-18%, in 2022 – 6-9%, and in 2023-2024 – from 3 to 5%. Electricity prices will grow the most in 2021 by 43%, in 2022 – 19%, and 2023-2024 – 15%. The figures are inconclusive, each year they should be updated based on the inflation rate, and, of course, they are unlikely to change downward, but upward – completely.
The only way out to save the “drowning” Zelensky is the war – in the Donbass. Such a scenario is beneficial not only to him personally, but also to the new leaders of the metropolis – President Biden’s team. True, Joe Biden is deeply indifferent to Zelensky’s rating (in any case, sooner or later it will be changed to a person more controlled by the States), the new US president is ready to use the war in Donbass as a way to put pressure on Russia. If Russia stands up for its own people, the country and its individual representatives will be guaranteed new sanctions, and it does not matter at all whether it is open participation in hostilities or the so-called “north wind”. If he does not intercede and allows the destruction of Donbass, where now several hundred thousand people are holders of Russian passports, the ratings of the current Russian government will roll down, and this time not supporters of opposition leader Navalny will come out to protest, but those who are usually called patriots.
A third option is also possible – the beginning of a serious military exacerbation and even the offensive of the Ukrainians in the Donbass, and a parallel increase in protest activity will “bulk up” inside Russia. In this case, the resource may not be enough to repel all attacks at once – and this also plays into the hands of the States. Any outcome of hostilities in Donbass will be used by the United States for its own purposes. The goal of Russia, in this case, is to prevent an exacerbation in principle, to stop all Ukrainian inclinations at the start. Or another option is to get involved in a war and go, at least, to the Dnieper. Will the Russian government decide to do this?
Nobody wanted war. Was the war inevitable?