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Everything under control: National security, COVID-19, economy, and energy—NSDC meeting results

NSDC meeting on January 24—results. Photo: OP

NSDC meeting on January 24—results. Photo: OP

On January 24, a meeting of the National Security Council chaired by Volodymyr Zelenskyy was held. It was convened to discuss a number of important issues for Ukraine, including national security, the state of affairs in the economy and energy, the coronavirus pandemic, and others.

Russian threat

Secretary of the NSDC of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov stated that the security situation was difficult, but was under control. According to him, the Ukrainians have no reason to panic now.

"Our Armed forces are able to fight back if necessary. There is nothing new for us in what is happening today... There is no flurry, no emergency events or fussy extinguishing fires, there is calmness and concentration. Calmness that the authorities should provide to the population, and focus on the activities of the authorities themselves to ensure national security in all areas."

Oleksiy Danilov

Oleksiy Danilov

NSDC Secretary

In a video message following the meeting, Zelenskyy also urged the population not to panic, to stay calm and not to shout "All is lost, we're toast."

"The outcome of this meeting is not high-profile decisions for the media space, but very important conclusions for our society. They sound simple: everything is under control, there is no reason to panic."

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

President of Ukraine

He also added that the Ukrainian authorities were doing everything possible to de-escalate the situation in Donbas through diplomatic means.

Economy

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, following the meeting of the National Security and Defense Council, said that the only threat to the Ukrainian economy at the moment was the disinformation pressure. He stressed that today the country has more than $30 billion in international reserves, which allows the National Bank to maintain the stability of the exchange rate. The Prime Minister repeated Danilov’s and Zelenskyy’s words and urged the population to stay calm.

"The dollar exchange rate today is 28.3 UAH. This is the currency band it fluctuates in, and this is one of the key macroeconomic indicators of a healthy economy and stability."

Denys Shmyhal

Denys Shmyhal

The Prime Minister of Ukraine

Shmyhal recalled that until the end of the current heating season, gas and electricity tariffs for Ukrainians would not increase. He assured that there were enough funds in the budget to pay subsidies, salaries to state employees and employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, student scholarships, and pensions.

The Prime Minister also noted the possibility of Ukraine getting assistance in the amount of 1.2 billion euros from the European Union and another $120 million from Canada. As early as next month, he said, a revision of the cooperation program with the International Monetary Fund may take place.

Energy

Zelenskнy assured that Ukrainians "will smoothly go through this entire heating season." He stressed that Ukraine had managed to accumulate sufficient volumes of gas and coal.

«There is enough gas in the underground storage facilities, there are enough coal reserves—at power plants and in ports they have already exceeded 1 million tons. Every day, thanks to rhythmic deliveries, including by rail and sea, they are increasing. In short, there are enough reasons for optimism.»

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

President of Ukraine

Rostyslav Shurma, Deputy Head of the Office of the President, reported that at present Ukraine's storage facilities contain a little less than 12 billion cubic meters of gas. According to him, "the available volumes are sufficient for a stable heating season." He also stressed that there had not been and would not be rolling blackouts, and "all the problems in recent weeks have been related solely to weather conditions."

Coronavirus in Ukraine

Zelenskyy admitted that the incidence of coronavirus in Ukraine was growing. However, he added that thanks to vaccination, far fewer people get into hospital beds than last fall.

The head of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, Viktor Liashko, stated that there were 20,000 vials of the coronavirus drug Remdesivir in the hospitals already. According to him, another anti-coronavirus drug, Molnupiravir, should get to the country's medical institutions within 7—10 days. Currently, Ukraine has a stockpile of about 10 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine, and another 42 million doses will arrive in 2022.

Context. Western countries, including the United States, over the past few months have expressed concern about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. The White House believes that this could happen at any point. The Department of State does not exclude that the attack may happen during the Russian-Belarusian military exercises.

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