Biden administration officials are far more worried about corruption in Ukraine than they publicly admit, a confidential U.S. strategy document obtained by POLITICO suggests.
The “sensitive but unclassified” version of the long-term U.S. plan lays out numerous steps Washington is taking to help Kyiv root out malfeasance and otherwise reform an array of Ukrainian sectors. It stresses that corruption could cause Western allies to abandon Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s invasion, and that Kyiv cannot put off the anti-graft effort.
“Perceptions of high-level corruption” the confidential version of the document warns, could “undermine the Ukrainian public’s and foreign leaders’ confidence in the war-time government.”
That’s starker than the analysis available in the little-noticed public version of the 22-page document, which the State Department appears to have posted on its website with no fanfare about a month ago.
The confidential version of the “Integrated Country Strategy” is about three times as long and contains many more details about U.S. objectives in Ukraine, from privatizing its banks to helping more schools teach English to encouraging its military to adopt NATO protocols. Many goals are designed to reduce the corruption that bedevils the country.
The quiet release of the strategy, and the fact that the toughest language was left in the confidential version, underscores the messaging challenge facing the Biden team. [Continue reading…]