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Meeting with Head of the Federal Medical-Biological Agency Veronika Skvortsova

June 15, 2023, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin had a meeting with Head of the Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA) Veronika Skvortsova.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Ms Skvortsova.

Let's start with the situation around the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant.

Head of the Federal Medical-Biological Agency Veronika Skvortsova: Mr President, the FMBA has been actively involved in the special military operation, alongside the Defence Ministry, since February 2022. Our combined detachments have been deployed in the Belgorod Region, including Shebekino and Valuyki, as well as the Rostov Region and in northern Crimea, in Krasnoperekopsk.

Over this entire period, we have treated more than 51,000 people in total, and more than 5,600 children. Our teams continue to operate; as many as 800 employees have taken part during this period.

Since June 1, by order of the Government, we have taken over the medical and sanitary-epidemiological support of Energodar and the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant and the organisations operating the power plant.

On June 1, we opened our territorial unit there and a hygiene and epidemiology centre – a branch of our Novovoronezh Centre for Hygiene and Epidemiology. We have opened an emergency radiation-monitoring and medical centre, a mobile medical and radiation-monitoring unit, and taskforces that can help the victims in case of emergency. We have integrated a large local medical sanitary unit, and it became a branch of our southern district centre.

It is also important to note that, because we started routine medical checks in Energodar in December [2022], examining both the children and adult population, we got to know the team and became familiar with the problems on the ground. And this helped us to actually keep the entire team on board: all 540 employees were hired, plus those employees who came from other FMBA centres.

We have purchased new equipment worth of 230 million rubles, which has already been delivered: the local surgical, anaesthesiology, laboratory, technical and other services have been fully re-equipped. We have replaced the vehicle fleet. The team has revived, and in fact, we have accepted them into the FMBA family.

We work well together. All radiation risks are being monitored. Everything is calm: there are no radiation peaks, and the situation is under control.

Following the collapse of the Kakhovka dam on June 6, Mr Saldo appealed to the FMBA in the evening of June 9 to send an interservice medical team to them. We have sent such a team made up of four groups from our departments in Rostov, Starobeshevo (Donetsk People’s Republic), Yalta and Krasnoperekopsk. On June 12, it arrived in the area called Zhelezny Port, where 11 temporary accommodation centres with 1,500 people are located. There are about 1,000 people in the city itself, more than 900 adults and about 100 children.

The team includes 30 specialists: two surgical groups, two intensive care groups, a primary care doctor, a paediatrician, a trauma specialist, a mobile microbiology group of five epidemiologists and laboratory assistants, a group of psychologists and nursing professionals. They advanced in a convoy of 10 specialised vehicles: a rapid response group, a mobile surgery, an intensive care vehicle, dressing units, a mobile microbiology laboratory, critical care vans and ambulances.

They arrived at the destination and started working on June 12. It must be said that the demand for medical assistance is huge: over the first two days, 600 of the 1,000 people and 60 of the 100 children there requested medical assistance. The team is working round the clock. We have split it into two groups, which provide primary surgical assistance, dressings, treatment of chronic diseases, and emergency care.

The epidemiological group has started working as well. They collected samples from the public water supply system, because people drink bottled water but use the public water system to clean their teeth. We completed the seed process yesterday, and the initial result is that, thankfully, there are no pathological substances.

Nevertheless, the team took not only medicines and dressing materials with them but also a large number of Hepatitis A, dysentery and typhoid vaccines, as well as the specialised Intesti bacteriophage for the treatment of all types of intestinal infectious diseases. We began the vaccination today. Over the past two days, we came to the conclusion that the team should be reinforced. Tomorrow we will send one more vehicle with vaccines to prevent potential shortages.

Besides, there is no clinical laboratory service there, which is why we will send a mobile laboratory service and specialists who will take clinical biochemistry tests. We have diagnosed several tuberculosis cases, and so we will also send a mobile screening van with specialists.

Vladimir Putin: Are these cases connected with the flooding or did you diagnose them during a screening?

Veronika Skvortsova: No, we diagnosed them during the screening. But since people are living in cramped quarters in the temporary shelters, we must prevent potential risks.

Vladimir Putin: The risks are increasing.

Veronika Skvortsova: Besides, we need more psychologists there, as we have concluded. The second section of the group will arrive on Friday.

Overall, the situation is under control. The team has an experienced leader, who worked in Starobeshevo, Donetsk People’s Republic, for six months. He is a competent doctor and, actually, a member of the FMBA staff. He knows how to speak with the people and has developed a good rapport with them.

In addition to this, I would like to report on your instruction. We have been building a multi-purpose high-technology centre in Mariupol together with the Defence Ministry since December 2022. It will serve not only the Donetsk People’s Republic, but other new regions too, as well as the nearby regions of the Russian Federation. It is currently 74 percent complete, even though construction started in December.

Only recently, I visited both Energodar and Mariupol, where I had a meeting with the construction team. Everything will be ready in August. We purchased the equipment, with 90 percent made in Russia, and very high quality too. The remaining 10 percent comes from Belarus and the People’s Republic of China. The installation of the heavy equipment will begin on June 15, and we will complete this effort by December 1.

This will be the first stage, which includes a diagnostics and treatment building, eleven operating suites, a sophisticated intensive care unit, an angiographic endovascular operating suite, and a diagnostics clinic, with 60 beds for overnight stays and 20 daycare beds.

The second stage will begin next year. It will include a building with 333 additional beds. We hope that this centre will open in December. We would like to invite you there, and we will be happy to see you, Mr President, if you have an opportunity to visit.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

I saw it from the outside when I visited Mariupol. I did not go inside, but the project was at an advanced stage, about 60 percent ready, I think.

Veronika Skvortsova: It is now 74 percent ready. Let me show you. This is what it looks like now.

Vladimir Putin: This is a big facility.

Veronika Skvortsova: Indeed, it is 36,000 square metres. We will add another 26,000 square metres next year. This is a major centre that will employ a big workforce. We have already recruited the core employees, and engineers and maintenance personnel are already working there. For stage one, there will be 170 medics, but we will need several times this number when we reach stage two.

We are now working with all the new regions of the Russian Federation and are ready to offer professional training to all interested medical professionals. Some of them need this training, and maybe there are also those who do not. Anyway, we are always glad to recruit them. This will work.

Mr President, if you will allow me, I would like to say that while all this has been going on, in 2022, our research team developed several novel antidotes against toxic agents, new radioprotective drugs and several treatments targeting specific symptoms for the radiation, biological and chemical protection troops. All these products come in user-friendly formats, including pre-filled syringes or can be quickly administered orally. In fact, we prepared a new layout, as requested by the Defence Ministry. It is ready and provides a convenient solution containing all the key medicines, including those against chemical and radiation hazards.

We continue developing new products and have already developed two new universal antidotes against toxic pulmonary oedema and toxic seizures. Clinical trials are getting underway. So here too, the agency is doing everything to help our troops.

Vladimir Putin: Good.

Thank you very much.


June 15, 2023, The Kremlin, Moscow