President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council, during which reports of government officials on the situation in the security, economic, energy, medical and cyber defense sectors were heard.
"The result of this meeting is not loud decisions for the media space, but important conclusions for society and citizens. They sound simple: everything is under control, there is no reason to panic. The first issue of the meeting, of course, was the situation in eastern Ukraine," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address following the National Security and Defense Council meeting.
In particular, the National Security and Defense Council heard reports from Head of the State Border Service Serhii Deyneko, Head of the Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense Kyrylo Budanov and Head of the Foreign Intelligence Service Oleksandr Lytvynenko.
Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov reported on the implementation of the law on the foundations of national resistance, which entered into force on January 1, 2022. According to the document, the first line of territorial defense forces is being formed in peacetime.
"According to the law, the number of the Armed Forces has been increased by 11,000, of which 10,000 are territorial defense forces and 1,000 are special operations forces to ensure the movement of resistance," Oleksiy Reznikov said at a briefing after the National Security and Defense Council meeting.
According to him, the Territorial Defense Command, four departments and relevant battalions have been formed. In addition, 25 territorial defense brigades will be established.
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi reported on the readiness of the Armed Forces to perform tasks to protect the state. The report of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba on cooperation with Ukraine's international partners was also heard.
Head of the Security Service Ivan Bakanov and Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrskyi reported on the state of the country's internal security.
Also at the meeting of the National Security and Defense Council, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal spoke about the situation in the economy. According to him, today Ukraine's international reserves amount to more than $ 30 billion, which allows the National Bank to ensure exchange rate stability.
Revenues of the general fund of the state budget for 2021 increased by UAH 206.5 billion. Currently, the single treasury account of Ukraine has a total of over UAH 55 billion. According to Denys Shmygal, a moderate burden on Ukraine's budget in terms of external payments is expected by September this year.
The Prime Minister also reminded that a decision had been made to provide our country with special EU macro-financial assistance in the amount of EUR 1.2 billion. In addition, Canada has decided to allocate USD 120 million of special grant funds for Ukraine.
The current program of Ukraine's cooperation with the International Monetary Fund is expected to be reviewed in February, the head of government said.
The state is fulfilling its social obligations and raising the provision standards for its citizens. In particular, in January this year, as provided by presidential decree, all doctors will receive a salary of at least UAH 20 thousand, and nurses - at least UAH 13.5 thousand. Also, from January scholarships for students have been increased to UAH 2,000, in February salaries for employees in the structures of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine will increase by 10%, and in March - pensions.
Another important issue on the agenda of the National Security and Defense Council was the country's energy security.
"We can say that we will calmly pass this whole heating season. There is enough gas in underground storage facilities and enough coal reserves, and they have already exceeded 1 million tons at power plants and ports. Every day, thanks to rhythmic supplies, including rail and sea, they are growing. In short, there are enough reasons for optimism," the President of Ukraine stressed.
According to Rostyslav Shurma, Deputy Head of the Office of the President, over the past two months coal reserves in Ukraine have tripled to over 800,000 tons, and another 280,000 tons of coal are in ports. According to him, systematic deliveries of domestic and imported coal have been established.
Also, 14 out of 15 NPP units with a load of about 12.4 GW are currently operating stably, and another nuclear unit can be connected within 10 days, depending on the temperature regime.
"No power outages or power shortages have occurred or are planned in the coming year, and all the problems in recent weeks have been due to weather conditions solely," said Rostyslav Shurma.
Also, according to him, the gas volumes in underground storage facilities are almost 12 billion cubic meters and, given the dynamics of consumption, the available volumes are sufficient for the sustainable passage of the heating season.
In addition, the National Security and Defense Council heard information on the epidemic situation in the country and countering the spread of COVID-19.
"Currently, the number of new cases is really growing, but the level of hospitalization is almost twice lower than the peak incidence in the fall of 2021. One of the main reasons is vaccination. People who are vaccinated undergo the disease much easier. The death rate is much lower," the Head of State stressed.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that human immunity increases after each subsequent dose of the vaccine, and the booster strategy has already become the single standard for all developed countries.
"Booster is the third dose of the vaccine, so another 500 hryvnias will be added under the eSupport program for those citizens who receive the third booster dose," the President said.
The Head of State also said that within a month the program will be expanded for the elderly who will be able to use these funds to pay for utilities. In addition, "eSupport" will soon be extended to children aged 14-18.
For his part, Health Minister Viktor Lyashko said that 20,000 vials of remdesivir, which is intended for the treatment of COVID-19, have already been delivered to healthcare facilities in Ukraine. Also this week the registration of molnupiravir is expected, which is a direct antiviral agent against COVID-19 and prevents the disease from becoming more severe. Viktor Lyashko hopes that within seven or ten days it will be possible to deliver the medication to Ukraine and provide it to medical institutions.
The Minister also said that today there are about 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Ukraine, and in 2022 it is planned to supply 42 million doses of vaccine depending on the need.
In addition, the National Security and Defense Council heard a report by Yurii Shchyhol, Head of the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection, on the situation related to the cyber attack on the Internet resources of public authorities, which took place on January 13-14.
According to him, in order to improve the cybersecurity of the state, a decision was made to immediately amend the legislation in order to introduce the practice of Big Bounty - disclosure of cyber vulnerabilities of public authorities. Positions of cyber security officers will also be introduced in public authorities and critical infrastructure facilities, which will be subordinated to the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection. In addition, they plan to create tools for financial incentives for government agencies that perform IT administration tasks, increase the responsibility of officials for non-compliance with the conditions of cybersecurity in public authorities and critical infrastructure, etc.
"The current situation is quite clear to us. There is no reason for us to panic. I would like everyone to keep calm," said Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council.