The United States is concerned about the corruption of Ukrainian elites, according to a confidential memo from the US State Department revealed this Tuesday by the American media Politico.
This document, “sensitive but unclassified,” is the full version of a 22-page report made public by the State Department on its website. Already, the publicly accessible pages, released on August 29, mentioned corruption in Ukraine as a major problem in the context of the war. “Although the greatest challenge is winning the war, Ukraine has a unique opportunity to engage in the fight against corruption and judicial reforms necessary to realize the aspirations of the Ukrainian people,” the department said in its report. of state.
But the version kept confidential and which Politico was able to consult is more severe. It indicates in particular, according to the media, that slowness in the fight against corruption could lead Western allies to abandon Ukraine's fight against the Russians. “Perceptions of high-level corruption” could “undermine the trust of the Ukrainian public and foreign leaders in the wartime government,” the document warns in its confidential version.
A subject which could add fuel to the fire in the American debate around the aid provided to Ukraine, contested by the Republicans. American opinion itself is beginning to sway. At the beginning of August, a poll commissioned by CNN caused a stir among the elites: for the first time, 55% of respondents (and 72% of Republicans) were hostile to a new financial package for Ukraine.
According to Politico, the confidential pages also express several US objectives for Ukraine, including support for reforming the structure of Ukraine's national security apparatus. Washington advocates a “decentralized approach”, which would reduce “opportunities for corruption” within the state. The Americans also recommend the privatization of banks, but also additional help for teaching English in schools. Finally, they suggest establishing, within the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, “a corps of junior officers and non-commissioned officers professionalized with standard NATO doctrine and principles.”
A sign that the subject is crucial for the United States, national security adviser Jake Sullivan met in early September with a delegation from Ukrainian anti-corruption institutions. Furthermore, a source close to the matter confirmed to Politico that the Biden administration was 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'.