Biden administration concerned over corruption in Ukraine but still supports aid to combat Russia, memo states
A recent U.S. State Department strategy memo detailing the top priorities for Ukraine — ravaged by war against Russia since last year — shows the Biden administration has concerns over purported corruption in the Eastern European country but still supports continued aid to the region.
According to the 22-page document, called the Integrated Country Strategy, the ‘biggest challenge is winning the war,’ but ‘Ukraine has a unique opportunity in the current moment to commit to the anti-corruption and judicial reforms needed to realize the aspirations of the Ukrainian people.’
The document outlines several objectives and timelines for each that the U.S. government wants to see Ukraine reach.
The document reiterates U.S. support for Ukraine with ‘continued military and security assistance’ but adds, ‘A clear, transparent strategy to deoligarch the economy and deliver prosperity for all is central to these reforms.’
‘Even as Ukraine fights to liberate its territory, the fight for the future is also important,’ the document states. ‘President Zelenskyy campaigned on a promise to clean up corruption and remains publicly committed to rebuilding a Ukraine that benefits all of society. Ukraine cannot afford to push reforms to a post-war period. The country must lay the framework to win the future even now.’
It adds, ‘Ukraine must move against entrenched, politically influential interests to succeed now and in the post-war recovery. Reforms in the energy sector, a bastion of corruption and oligarchic control, are essential to cementing Ukraine’s European integration.’
The mostly unnoticed document, approved for public release on Aug. 29, provides another layer to the administration’s support for Ukraine, emphasizing the importance of not only making public commitments to reform but also ensuring their actual implementation. This, it suggests, will not only bolster confidence among private sector investors for the country’s recovery but also strengthen U.S. and international support in military, development, and economic spheres.
Following through on U.S. commitments to provide equipment and training is crucial in supporting Ukraine’s armed forces against Kremlin-led aggressions, the document notes.
The document also outlines enhancing the U.S. diplomatic presence in Ukraine, including exploring the possibility of expanding U.S. presence beyond Kyiv to possibly Lviv, Odesa, Kharkiv and Dnipro.
Meanwhile, mostly GOP lawmakers have repeatedly called for more rigorous oversight to Ukranian aid, and the U.S. government averted a shutdown this weekend in a spending bill passed by Congress that left out assistance to the nation.
President Biden said in a statement Sunday after the funding bill passed late Saturday night that America’s support for Ukraine ‘cannot be interrupted.’
‘We have time, not much time, and there’s an overwhelming sense of urgency,’ he said. The spending bill expires on Nov. 17.
Fox News Digital reached out to the U.S. Department of State for comment but did not hear back by time of publication.