Over the past several years, the current government of Ukraine has significantly reduced funding of social programs aimed at support of those affected by the Chornobyl disaster. Serhiy Lovochkin, MP, OPPOSITION PLATFORM — FOR LIFE, stated in his inquiry to Ukraine’s Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman. Lovochkin requested that the government resume timely funding of Chornobyl veterans support programs in full.

“I propose immediately restoring social protection of people who had been affected by the Chornobyl accident, including full and timely funding for relevant state programs,” the inquiry reads.

According to the MP, in 2013 the state allocated 2.6 billion budget hryvnias for ‘Social protection of Chornobyl disaster-affected citizens,’ while the budget bill for 2019, as drafted by the Cabinet and supported by the parliamentary coalition, provides for only 1.98 billion. In real terms and given the price increase since 2013, this amount is by 72.5 percent lower now. Lovochkin said that in real dollars, the funding of the program in 2019 would only reach 20 percent of its 2013 level.

The inquiry reads that two targeted programs have been removed from the state budget since 2014, including full-range healthcare services and cancer treatment for the accident liquidators, as well as housing program for those affected by the disaster. In 2014, the Cabinet of Ministers transferred the obligation to fund healthcare programs for Chornobyl victims to regional authorities, regardless of local budgets’ limited opportunities as well as the fact that treatment of cancer patients in most cases requires significant expenses and high-tech equipment, which local hospitals usually lack.

The politician says the 2019’s budget expenses on the State policy for radiological protection of the population and environmental improvement of the affected regions will drop by 64 percent in real dollars compared to 2013; environmental security programs — by 23.5 percent.

“The government’s gradual limitation of incentives that used to be provided by the state to those affected by the Chornobyl disaster results in significantly lower level of social protection for more than 2 million citizens, including 100,000 disabled persons. Despite the ruling of the Constitutional Court that found those limitations illegal and restored all incentives for Chornobyl disaster-affected citizens, the government hasn’t provided for enough funding in the state budget for this and coming year. Instead, the Cabinet of Ministers is actively reducing, in administrative and unjustified manner, the number of citizens affected by the Chornobyl disaster who should be socially protected by the state. This includes revision of IDs that were issued to Chornobyl liquidators and victims earlier,” Lovochkin said.

As reported, on July 18, 2018, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, upon a submission by opposition MPs, ruled to restore incentives for citizens affected by the Chornobyl nuclear station accident.