21:46 22 September 2021
Post by: WBJ

Ambassador's Corner

Andrii Deshchytsia, the Ukrainian ambassador, tells the WBJ about... sport, vaccine hesitancy, and climate crisis

Ambassador's Corner
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The pandemic played havoc with the 2020 sporting calendar. 2021, however, has events galore, including Euro and Olympics. How important are sports for your country? How much money has your country invested in sports facilities in recent years? How are your citizens encouraged to do more sports?

Ukraine is well known for its sports champions. We consider football to be our national sport. You can hardly find any town without a local team, stadium, or at least a football field. Moreover, here is the result: led by the world-famous football coach Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine succeeded in reaching the Euro 2020 quarterfinal. In Atlanta 1996, Ukraine was in the top-20 national Olympic teams (nine gold medals). Although in Tokyo 2020, our gold count wasn’t high (Zhan Beleniuk, our wrestler and MP, won a gold medal!), the total tally of medals reached 19. Nevertheless, our Olympic squad surprised us with medals in — the first-ever in Ukrainian history — tennis, karate, and artistic swimming. It’s time to prepare for Paris 2024.

Covid-19 vaccine uptake has been low in several regions across the world despite the ongoing (and in some places raging) pandemic. In Poland, a government spokesperson recently said that new restrictions for the unvaccinated in accessing some venues “cannot be ruled out,” although the government reportedly has no such plans. Are there any restrictions on unvaccinated citizens of your country? If yes, what? Also, are unvaccinated foreigners welcome to your country?

Ukraine treats everyone equally. Of course, on the governmental level, we promote vaccination and encourage Ukrainians to vaccinate. But no restrictions for unvaccinated citizens are currently on the agenda. For sure, for the purposes of border control we group countries based on Covid-19 cases, but in general unvaccinated foreigners with negative Covid-19 tests and appropriate medical insurance are welcome to Ukraine (unvaccinated citizens arriving from Russia or India must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine). Self-isolation is not required if the person leaves the country within 72 hours. However, from August 5, Ukrainian citizens and foreign tourists over 18 who have not been vaccinated against coronavirus after entering Ukraine must install the “VDOMA” (“at home”) a mobile app that monitors self-isolation. Current rules can be checked on visitukraine.today.

Climate crisis knows no national borders. From devastating deluge destroying towns in Western Europe to ruthless heatwave broiling western North America and from wildfires ravaging Siberian forest to the heaviest rainfall ever in China’s central Henan province, the past months have seen a series of extreme weather events. How environmentally friendly is your country’s economic development? How well-prepared is your country for such catastrophes?

We do share climate protection values and take part in all major climate initiatives, including efforts to decrease the volume of emissions of greenhouse gases in accordance with international obligations declared by Ukraine under the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. For sure, climate protection is our common interest and it should be on the top priority list for all countries, pretty much on the same level with national, economic, or energy security issues. Approximately half of Ukraine’s exports depend on agriculture, where our country has a top-ranking position in the world. Therefore, you can imagine how vital climate change is for our national economy. As recent proof of our country’s involvement in the common task of nature protection, our fire brigade helped to stop mass fires in Greece and Turkey.

andrii deshchytsia

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