United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken says corruption eats away at Ukraine's democracy from the inside.
He said this during a virtual roundtable on reform and anticorruption at Kyiv's America House on May 6, 2021, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
"We know that corruption literally eats away at Ukraine's democracy from the inside. And so the work that you're doing and the courage that you show in doing it could not be more important. And I really want to salute you for that," he said.
Blinken briefed those present on his meetings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and members of the Ukrainian government. They highlighted reforms in Ukraine.
"We had some very good conversations today with leaders in the government, including President Zelensky, including about the reform agenda. And what I really am anxious to do is to listen to you, to hear from you about how the United States can be a strong and even stronger partner for Ukraine in moving forward with reforms, and particularly in combating corruption. What can we do more effectively in support of Ukraine as it takes on this fight?" he said.
Blinken added that during meetings in Kyiv, he spoke about important issues of corporate governance to ensure that there are truly independent agencies that oversee state-owned enterprises.
"And some of the things we discussed today with government colleagues were the very great importance of corporate governance, and particularly to make sure that there are true, independent people overseeing the particularly state-owned enterprises. We talked about as well the vital importance of sustaining and strengthening the anti-corruption board. We talked about the importance of judicial reform and making sure that the process for picking judges is transparent and relies on outside evaluation and expertise, not on inside interests. We talked about the reform of the security forces to make sure that they're truly working for the Ukrainian people," he said.
He noted that it was important not only to create a legal foundation in the legislative field to combat corruption, but also to ensure that laws are implemented.
"And finally, we talked about the importance not only of passing the right laws and making sure that the legal foundation is there to deal with corruption, to advance transparency, to deal with the judiciary, but that those laws are actually implemented. Because it's necessary but insufficient to have laws on the books; they actually have to be used for the purposes to which they're intended," he said.
Blinken's working visit to Ukraine: Key developments
- On May 5-6, 2021, Antony Blinken was on a working visit to Kyiv. On May 6, 2021, he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
- Speaking at a joint press conference with Zelensky, Blinken called on the Russian Federation to end aggression against Ukraine.
- Among other things, Blinken and Zelensky discussed in detail security-related support to strengthen Ukraine's defenses. According to Blinken, "Russia has the capacity on fairly short notice to take aggressive action if it so chooses," as not all Russian troops have been withdrawn from the border with Ukraine. The two officials also discussed joint actions of Ukraine and the United States in establishing security in the Azov-Black Sea region.
- In addition, Blinken and Zelensky discussed the situation around natural gas giant NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine and the importance of continuing to work towards improving corporate governance.