FACT CHECK: Are Only Vaccinated Ukrainian Citizens Eligible For Emergency Wartime Payment?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims only Ukrainians vaccinated against COVID-19 are eligible for the country’s emergency wartime payment.

Verdict: False

Ukrainians are eligible for the emergency wartime payment regardless of their vaccination status, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and a Ukrainian media report.

Fact Check:

More than 3 million Ukrainians have fled the country as refugees due to Russia’s recent invasion, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Ukraine has suffered at least $100 billion in infrastructure damage alone as of March 16, the U.N. estimates.

A video shared on Facebook features a 51-second clip of Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announcing a plan to pay Ukrainian citizens affected by the war a one-time payment of 6,500 hryvnias ($220 USD). At one point in the video, Shmyhal says the payment program would work “by analogy with vaccination payments – that is, through the Diia application.”

“No vax. No food,” reads the video’s caption. “Ukraine govt announce emergency payments to those impacted by war. But only if you are vax’d. And only through the digital system.”

The video’s caption is inaccurate. A full review of the 5-minute speech given by Shmyhal, which can be viewed on both his Facebook page and UATV English’s YouTube channel, reveals the prime minister was simply explaining how the payment would be requested and received.

The Diaa app Shmyhal references, also called Action, was launched in 2020 by the Ukrainian government to help citizens keep track of their driver’s license and car registration, according to Unian. The government offered vaccination incentive payments of 1000 hryvnias ($36 USD) through the app in December 2021, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported. In the video, Shmyhal appears to be simply stating that the war payment program would work through the app in the same way the previous vaccine incentive payment program worked, not that the payment is only available to those who were vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a March 3 speech, Zelenskyy seemingly suggested the payments would be paid regardless of vaccination status. “Every employee, every sole proprietor, every citizen of ours, from whom Russia has taken away the opportunity to work, will receive six and a half thousand hryvnias without any conditions,” said Zelenskyy.

The Ukrainian news outlet Segodnya published a March 8 article instructing readers how to apply for the funds. The article notes that Ukrainians from certain worn-torn regions can apply “regardless of the level of your vaccination,” according to a translated version of the piece.

Check Your Fact found no credible news reporting to suggest the emergency wartime payment would be limited to those who were vaccinated. Check Your Fact has also reached out to Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment and will update this piece if a response is given.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter