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            economic ministry after their merger in September 2019. Meanwhile, MPs failed to provide enough votes to appoint Yuriy Vitrenko, the former executive director of Naftogaz, to the position of energy minister. The next day, the Rada voted to appoint a security service officer, Yulia Laputina, as veterans minister. The positions of energy and education minister were vacant since March 2020, when the Rada appointed a new cabinet without these vacancies being filled. The position of veterans minister became vacant last week when the Rada approved the resignation request of Serhiy Besarab.​ ​The most questionable appointment among these is Shkarlet, who has been accused of plagiarism by the National Agency for Higher Education Quality. With his approval, both the cabinet and parliament are confirming that the quality and reputation of science and education are not a priority, which damages the country’s investment case. Another disappointment is the failure to approve to the position of energy minister Vitrenko, a technocrat who proved his effectiveness at Naftogaz. But this seems to be not the end of the story, as Vitrenko still has a chance to run the ministry as its deputy head (as his two predecessors in Shmyhal’s cabinet did). We believe Vitrenko is likely to be appointed as deputy minister this week, based on news reports. Meanwhile, the resurrection of the agriculture ministry with the appointment of the technocrat Leschenko is encouraging news.
Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers decided on December 21 to appoint Yuriy Vitrenko as first deputy minister of energy​. On top of that, the cabinet appointed him as acting energy minister. As the position of energy minister has been vacant in the cabinet of Denys Shmyhal, Vitrenko is the third acting energy minister after Olha Buslavets (​appointed on April 17​) and Yuriy Boyko (appointed on November 20). Recall, last week, parliament failed to collect enough votes to appoint Vitrenko as a full-fledged energy minister.​ ​A former investment banker, Vitrenko served in the top positions of Naftogaz of Ukraine between 2014 and July 2020. He is most known as the leader of a team that defeated Gazprom in court battles, resulting in its $3bn compensation payment in December 2019.​ ​This appointment is positive for Ukraine’s investment case. Meanwhile, it adds more risks to Rinat Akhmetov’s DTEK Energy (DTEKUA). Unlike the acting minister Buslavets, who submitted her resignation the same day and who was known to have been ​ready and willing to assist the energy holding​ in resolving its problems, Vitrenko won’t be that cooperative. Moreover, DTEK’s owner Akhmetov was pulling his strings in parliament to undermine the vote to appoint Virtenko last week, according to MP Oleksandr Dubinsky.
Ukraine will receive – free of charge -- enough Covid-19 vaccines to vaccination 4mn people this spring, ​Ukraine’s Chief Sanitary Doctor Viktor Liashko wrote Saturday on Facebook. In addition, Ukraine is budgeting $90mn to buy vaccines to inoculate another 13mn people. This would cover a little less than one half of Ukraine’s current population, estimated at 37mn. In a recent poll by the Rating Group, 40% of respondents said they would not take a vaccine, even if free.
Six months ago, it was called the Ministry of Energy and Coal Mining. But yesterday, Olha Buslavets, first deputy Ministry of Energy, briefed British officials that Ukraine “soon will join the Coalless Alliance.” ​Started by Britain and formally called the Powering Past Coal Alliance, the group is composed of 34 nations committed to phasing out coal. “We plan to gradually reduce the number of coal mines, and by 2070 to abandon the use of fossil fuels, gaining full climate neutrality,” promised Buslavets. “It is important to
    8​ UKRAINE Country Report​ January 2021 ​ ​

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