Strategy for combating corruption in Ukraine: what information does the classified document from the US contain and what consequences will it have for the country?
The US concern about corruption in Ukraine is much greater than what is publicly reported. Find out what details were revealed by the release of a classified strategic document and what consequences will be caused by ignoring the US anti-corruption strategies
Recently, it became known that the United States sent an official letter to Ukraine with recommendations on reforms to be implemented to overcome corruption and speed up European integration. However, Politico journalists got hold of a classified document that is three times larger than the public version that was previously released.
In the confidential version of the Ukraine assistance strategy, corruption is seen as a real threat. The strategy itself envisages the development of Ukraine's defense sector and the transition to NATO standards, in-depth English language training, de-oligarchization, and tough reforms to fight corruption.
In addition, the classified document contains specific plans for reforming Ukrainian institutions and warnings about the consequences of not implementing the proposals. In particular, it is noted that the level of Western support will depend on the level of overcoming corruption in Ukraine.
What is the difference between the public version of the US strategy and the classified one?
The published document describes specific steps that Ukraine should take to overcome corruption and speed up its European integration. The document also states that ignoring the proposals and delaying the process of fighting bribery may force Ukraine's partners to withdraw military support and assistance to the country.
At the same time, the confidential version of the "Integrated Strategy for Ukraine" contains much more details about the US goals in Ukraine - from encouraging the transition to NATO standards and the development of its own defense sector to privatizing banks and helping to increase the number of schools teaching English.
Based on the information received, Politico concluded that the White House is seeking to "pressure" Ukraine to strengthen its fight against corruption by "putting US aid on the line." However, it is not yet known whether Kyiv has received the full version of the strategy from the United States.
How much money has the US sent to Ukraine?
According to the latest information from the WSJ, the Pentagon reported to Congress that $5.2 billion was left to help Ukraine, which will be enough for another six months. This amount is about 12% of the total amount of $43.9 billion in security assistance that the United States has sent to Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion of russia in 2022. However, according to the German research institute Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the total amount of financial support, which includes humanitarian, financial and military aid, has already reached more than $75 billion.
In addition, according to the publication, the account that the United States used for a multi-year program to modernize the Ukrainian army and bring it into line with NATO standards now has a zero balance.
What do the US say about corruption in Ukraine now?
Corruption in Ukraine has long been a concern for U.S. officials, but the topic has been on the back burner since russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022. Until the second half of 2023, the United States limited itself to brief mentions of the need to fight corruption, but now the issue has become very acute.
Politico asked a U.S. official familiar with the discussions for comment. The official confirmed that the Biden administration is discussing with Ukrainian leaders the possibility of conditioning future economic aid on "reforms aimed at fighting corruption and making Ukraine a more attractive place for private investment." However, according to the official, these conditions do not apply to military aid.
At the same time, U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller also confirmed at a briefing that the fight against corruption will be considered a condition for further financial support for Ukraine.
"I often see this portrayed as something that Ukraine needs to do to gain the support of its Western allies and ultimately realize its European aspirations, to become a member of the EU. And that is certainly true. You see members of Congress saying that they want Ukraine to take anti-corruption measures. So it is important that Ukraine shows them that they are there. You see EU members saying that they want this, and so it's important that Ukraine shows that they are taking these steps," he said.
At the same time, Miller believes that Ukraine has already taken some aggressive measures to fight corruption.
"We have been very clear and direct with our Ukrainian counterparts on this issue. ... We've seen Ukraine take aggressive action, and that includes the aggressive action to fight corruption that they've taken in the last few weeks. And we welcome their continuation of these steps," the spokesman said.
So, despite the fact that the Ukrainian authorities are beginning to take steps to combat corruption, these steps are obviously not enough. And the existence of a classified document only confirms the West's fears about continuing to support the country. And despite all the threats posed by the russian invasion to global security, Ukraine must overcome its internal enemy as quickly and decisively as it does its external one. Otherwise, the country will be forced to fight alone in its struggle.
We remind you! Former Prime Minister Robert Fico's anti-Ukrainian party, which opposes military aid to Ukraine, will lead the Slovak parliament. Read more about the implications for Ukraine, the EU, and NATO of the victory of a pro-moscow party in the Slovak elections in our previous article.
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