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Politico: White House more worried about corruption in Ukraine than it publicly admits

by Dinara Khalilova October 2, 2023 8:46 PM 2 min read
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and U.S. President Joe Biden walk to the Oval Office of the White House on Sept. 21, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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U.S. President Joe Biden's administration prepared a confidential strategy document that sees corruption in Ukraine as the real threat, allegedly warning that Western support may depend on Kyiv's anti-graft efforts, Politico reported on Oct. 2.

The document obtained by the media outlet outlines steps the U.S. is taking to help Ukraine tackle corruption and reform the country's military, financial, and education sectors, among others.

The confidential version of the "Integrated Country Strategy" contains tougher language on Ukraine's corruption issues than a shorter public document posted by the U.S. State Department about a month ago, according to Politico.

Zelensky: Corruption cases in Ukraine don’t involve foreign funds
In an interview with CNN published on Sept. 10, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that cases of corruption in Ukraine don’t involve financial or military aid sent by Kyiv’s partners.

"Perceptions of high-level corruption" could "undermine the Ukrainian public's and foreign leaders' confidence in the war-time government," the "sensitive but unclassified" paper says.

An unnamed U.S. official confirmed to Politico that the White House was discussing with Kyiv possibly conditioning future economic assistance on "reforms to tackle corruption and make Ukraine a more attractive place for private investment."

However, such conditions are not being considered for defense aid needed to help Ukraine repel Russian military aggression, the official said.

Zelensky proposes to equate corruption with treason during wartime
In a televised interview on Aug. 27, President Volodymyr Zelensky said he has submitted a proposal to equate corruption with treason while martial law is in effect in Ukraine.

The "Integrated Country Strategy" describes U.S. goals in helping Ukraine develop domestic weapons production, adopt NATO military standards, prosecute war crimes in its own judicial system, and increase the nation's English language proficiency.

The document also calls for the deoligarchization of Ukraine's energy and mining sectors, privatization of banks, and extension of the U.S. diplomatic presence in the country.

A State Department official refused to tell Politico if the U.S. government had shared the confidential version of the strategy with Ukrainian officials.

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