The US handed Ukraine a list of priority reforms, the implementation of which by Kiev is a condition for Washington to continue helping Kiev. It was contained in a letter sent by Assistant National Security Adviser Mike Pyle. It includes clear deadlines for the implementation of the reforms, which are ranked in order of importance.
Which areas need reforms?
The most urgent changes are the strengthening of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Among the planned steps is, for example, increasing the staff of the bureau to 300 people and preserving its independence. This should be done within three months.
The same deadline is also provided for the legislative settlement of the issue of the mandatory declaration of income and property of civil servants and judges, as well as for the financial activities of political parties. Other demands are an independent and transparent election of the head of the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption and the renewal of the Supreme Judicial Council.
In addition, the list contains requirements for reforms in the work of the supervisory boards of the state-owned enterprises “Ukrenergo” and “Naftogaz”.
“Knowing the Ukrainian authorities’ manner of delaying reforms until the last moment, very clear deadlines for specific actions have now been given,” MP Yaroslav Yurchyshyn from the parliamentary committee on anti-corruption policy told DV. According to him, despite the short deadlines, all the reforms on the US list can be carried out by Kiev on time. He also points out that for all the necessary reforms, bills have already been submitted, which only need to be voted on.
The letter with the demands for reforms caused heated debates in Ukraine. Although the text published by the newspaper “Ukrainska Pravda” does not specify exactly what kind of aid from the United States is made dependent on the implementation of reforms in Ukraine, analysts summarize the case as a proposal for “reforms against weapons.”
“Yes, reforms are necessary. And the US has the right to demand them in return for the financial support they provide for the Ukrainian budget, for humanitarian aid, various programs. But not against the supply of weapons – in our country no one steals shells and tanks and sells on the market. We are very transparently hinted at: reform or die,” comments TV presenter Larisa Voloshina emotionally.
Deputy Victor Chumak, in his turn, notes that the US demands for reforms are not new – they have been talked about since 2014, but since then, until now, Kiev has not carried out the reforms, but imitated them. “Now the West’s tool is weapons and military support. So not just support is at stake, but the existence of the state,” wrote Chumak on Facebook.
At the same time, as the “Voice of America” reported, they stated in Washington that “the draft list of priority reforms submitted by the United States for discussion is not a condition for the provision of upcoming military aid.”
Because of the US election?
Ukrainian foreign policy expert Serhiy Gerasimchuk shared with DV his assumptions that the appearance of the letter may be related to the election campaign in the USA. “There is a group of congressmen who are critical of aid to Ukraine and are capitalizing on it during the election campaign. The appearance of the list is intended to reassure voters and show that the spending of American taxpayers’ money is attached to certain conditions and is not wasteful on the part of the Joe Biden administration,” says Gerasimchuk.
The Director of the Center for Political Studies Penta, Vladimir Fesenko, points out to DV that the demand of the USA to strengthen public control over the activities of Ukrainian state institutions will support the development of democracy in Ukraine, especially in conditions of war.
“At the end of the day, all this corresponds to our interests – that’s why in this case it’s not about any whims of our partners or treason,” Fesenko is convinced. However, he notes that this time the Ukrainian authorities should take the US demands seriously.
Source: Deutsche Welle