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Ukraine to be warned it’s ‘too corrupt’ for NATO – Telegraph

Many of the bloc’s members want “additional steps” from Kiev as they consider the issue a “priority,” a source has told the paper

NATO wants Ukraine to make more effort to crack down on endemic corruption as a condition for any progress towards joining the bloc, the Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday, citing sources.

According to the British paper, concerns that Ukraine is “too corrupt” to become a full-fledged NATO member will be highlighted in the communique at the bloc’s Washington summit on July 9-11.

A senior US State Department official told The Telegraph that the West must “applaud everything that Ukraine has done in the name of reforms over the last two-plus years.” However, he added that “we want to talk about additional steps that need to be taken, particularly in the area of anti-corruption. It is a priority for many of us around the table.” 

NATO members first agreed in 2008 that Ukraine would eventually join the bloc, without setting an exact timetable. After the Western-backed coup in Kiev in 2014, Ukraine made its NATO aspirations a strategic goal and formally applied to join the bloc in 2022. The move came after four of its former regions voted overwhelmingly to join Russia.

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FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian soldiers load a US-made MK-19 automatic grenade launcher
Pentagon sounds alarm over Ukraine corruption

However, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said Ukraine’s accession is out of the question while it is in conflict with Russia, insisting that membership can only be approved “when allies agree and conditions are met.” Moscow has said Ukraine’s plans to join NATO are among the key reasons for the conflict.

Ukraine has been plagued by corruption for years. The hostilities with Russia have made the problem even more apparent, and the Ukrainian military has been rocked by several high-profile procurement scandals in recent months.

Graft is high on the list of concerns for Ukraine’s Western backers in the EU and US. Last month, the EU set up a special watchdog to combat the possible embezzlement of billions of dollars allocated to Kiev.

In May, Robert Storch, the Pentagon’s inspector general, released a report stating that “endemic corruption persists” in Ukraine while calling its government “one of the least accountable” in Europe. An NBC report in June claimed that Kiev has been irritated by constant US demands to ramp up anti-corruption efforts. American and Ukrainian officials have acknowledged that it is one of the issues poisoning bilateral relations.

According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, Ukraine is in the ‘red’ zone, ranking 104th out of 180 countries.

July 03, 2024 at 01:01PM

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