On Thursday, the Biden Administration’s U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power declared that Ukrainian officials have guaranteed that none of the financial assistance sent to Ukraine by the United States has been abused since their war with Russia began one year ago.
As The Hill reports, Power made her statements during a CNN town hall, where she further claimed that the Ukrainian government has been actively monitoring and rooting out corruption within its own ranks.
“Up until this point, we don’t have any evidence that U.S. assistance is being misused or misspent but, again, the key is not resting on anybody’s good will or virtue,” said Power after being asked about the well-known history of corruption in Ukraine. “It’s checks and balances, the rule of law, the integrity of officials.”
Although the government of Ukraine has been consistently plagued with corruption since it first declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Power said that anti-corruption efforts have greatly increased since the 2014 revolution, where former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was forced out of power by widespread protests. Following his ousting, Petro Poroshenko was elected president later that same year, before being defeated in his re-election bid by Volodymyr Zelensky in 2019.
But as recently as 2016, the Ukrainian government was still susceptible to bribery by external forces. That year, then-Vice President of the United States pressured then-President Poroshenko to fire Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who at the time was investigating the shady Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings, which employed Biden’s son Hunter. Poroshenko ultimately fired Shokin after Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion of U.S. aid to the country.
Power also said during the townhall that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) had helped the Ukrainian government launch a new initiative to expand its auditing institution to help with the planned reconstruction of the country after the war comes to an end.