– Every big businessman in Ukraine has been assigned to a specific Ukrainian region. Why is it so that Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts are under your supervision?
– We are not supervising, we are helping. Governors and mayors in all Ukrainian regions are now working 24/7 and they all share the same goal – to stop the COVID-19 epidemic in the country.
SCM is a socially responsible business, we have never stood on the sidelines during hard times. And we are not going to, especially right now. Our companies are present in almost all Ukrainian regions and it's our duty to help people. We have been always helping people and we are not going to stop.
I want to repeat again that our goal is neither to replace local authorities nor to provide supervision. Our goal is to help Ukraine and its citizens.
– How exactly are you helping in the regions?
– I've been doing charity for many years, even more than a decade. I've got a very strong team and we know exactly what to do. We are going to purchase at least 200 ventilators as well as other equipment. The information will be released through my Foundation.
– How do your managers coordinate their actions with the local authorities?
– We greatly respect what the president is doing now as well as what governors and mayors are doing: their contribution towards the common goal is tremendous. And our objective is to help them rather than replace them. We must help the government as well as the local and regional authorities. This is what we are doing now.
– What is your direct contribution to the operation of the regional anti-crisis centres?
– My team, my Foundation as well as SCM representatives have been fully engaged in the operation of the anti-crisis centres in the regions and cities of Ukraine.
– Could you list the key challenges you are facing in the regions? How many base hospitals are there? How many patients can be admitted to these hospitals at one time? Are they prepared to work in case they are overwhelmed well beyond their capacity?
– For this information, please ask the governors and mayors of our cities and towns.
– Please rate 1 to 10 how prepared the regions are to withstand the epidemic. Which of the required supplies are available? Which essentials are lacking?
– This sort of assessment should be given by executive officials of oblasts, cities and towns, and by you as media. But first of all, this should be assessed by local medical personnel.
– What was the most striking for you, when you started to dive deeper into the regional state of affairs?
– I am always trying to see the upside, even in the most challenging of situations. Now I am greatly impressed by heroic efforts of everyone working in the field, as all of them have united for the same goal. The local authorities, all the service arms are working day and night, which deserves enormous respect.
Of course, I am impressed by our heroic medical personnel who risk their lives to save others.
– Who do you report to on the progress in the regions? Does the President's Office continue to coordinate with you?
– We report on our progress, on what is done and what is coming, to the public through media. When I left the President's Office on 16 March, the first thing I did was sharing the nature of the meeting and the understandings reached.
– Does the President call you to ask about the steps taken? Or Mr Yermak maybe?
– Neither President Zelensky nor the head of his Office calls me or asks me anything. My conscience calls me asking what we have done for people and what else we can do. Those calls are the most important.
– How much money have you personally spent on fighting coronavirus in Ukraine?
– Last week, I allocated UAH 300 million towards the fight against coronavirus.
– What did Mr Zelensky promise you for helping the regions?
– Let's not discredit the good deeds. The business does not need anything from the president or the government. All it needs is a level playing field and fair competition. Our goal is to make Ukraine strong and successful and the Ukrainians happy. I have always been engaged in charity and never asked for anything in return.
All I want is people getting well and staying healthy. The only fever they ever get should be football fever when FC Shakhtar returns to the field upon resumption of the Championship of Ukraine and the European tournaments.