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Fact Check-One-off wartime payout to unemployed Ukrainians is not be based on COVID-19 vaccine status

Ukrainians who have lost their jobs as a result of Russia’s invasion will be eligible for a one-off payment from the government. However, some people online have claimed the handouts will be dependent on an individual’s COVID-19 vaccine status. This is based on a misinterpretation of the prime minister’s speech announcing the new initiative.

One Facebook user (here) posted a picture of Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on March 8 alongside the caption: “UKRAINE Wartime Payments Dependent on JAB STATUS?”

Several users in the comments also appear to be convinced that the handouts will be based on someone’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

One writes: “Tracked down the original in Ukrainian, the sick bastard Denys Shmyhal, new prime minister of Ukraine actually says the businesses will be supported with 6000 hryvnas (150 pounds or 200 us dollars, not near enough imo), dependant [sic] on vaccination status. Sick.”

Another says: “What the actual……I thought this war was about defending their country…not that.”

But this is a misinterpretation of a snippet of a speech delivered by Shmyhal on March 6.

The 51-second clip has been reshared on Facebook (here, here and here), Twitter (here, here, here and here) and BitChute (here and here).

In it, Shmyhal says Ukrainians who have lost their jobs as a result of the conflict will receive 6,500 hryvnia each. “The program will function by analogy with vaccination payments - that is, through the Diia application,” he adds.

The full six-minute announcement can be viewed on Shmyhal’s official Facebook page, here.

Diia, a mobile app from the Ukrainian government, has indeed been used to issue handouts to citizens who have received their COVID-19 vaccines (here).

However, Shmyhal’s reference in his speech to vaccine payments through the app was made as an example of the payment method – not as a prerequisite to getting a wartime payment. This was clarified in a Ukrainian report on the new initiative (here).

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy also said there would be no conditions to the payout in an address on March 3.

He said: “Our government has already prepared a program of special assistance for all Ukrainians who lost the opportunity to work due to the war. Where there is fighting. Every employee, every sole proprietor, every citizen of Ukraine, from whom Russia has taken away the opportunity to work, will receive six and a half thousand hryvnias without any conditions” (here).

VERDICT

Partly false. Shmyhal’s speech has been misinterpreted. COVID-19 vaccination is not a prerequisite to getting a wartime payout.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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