Fighting corruption in Ukraine as crucial as defending Donbas, US envoy to NATO says in Kyiv

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Apart from repelling Russian aggression in the Donbas and Crimea, Ukraine has to wage an equally important war on corruption, United States Permanent Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson said at the Kyiv Security Forum on April 12.

The senior U.S. official made the comments during a discussion on the sidelines on the first day of the forum in the Ukrainian capital.

“Only the fight against corruption, the establishment of democratic institutions – including an independent judiciary and anti-corruption courts – will establish the long-term principles for combating  external interference and the development of Ukraine as a modern European state,” Hutchinson said.

She also stressed that Ukraine had already shown a remarkable progress in its democratic development over the past four years.

NATO will continue to support the aspirations of Ukraine and Ukrainians to be free, but is also expecting the country to take necessary steps itself, Hutchinson said.

“A further step that  NATO expects in the framework of defense reform is the passing of the Law on National Security, which would introduce civilian and democratic control over the military,” the U.S. official added.

Hutchinson was referring to Ukraine’s new national security act, which the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, passed at first reading on April 5. Developed with the participation of U.S. and European Union envoys in Kyiv, the new legislation is  set to provide a brand new security framework for Ukraine as it seeks to reach full compliance with NATO military standards through late 2020.

While stressing the importance of the law, Hutchinson expressed hope that the document would soon fully approved by the Verkhovna Rada.

The Kyiv Security Forum, held annually since 2007 by the Open Ukraine Fund, headed by former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, this year gathered over 400 international and Ukrainian leaders, representatives of political, business and civil society communities from over 20 countries.

According to the organizers, the  leaders and experts at the forum will discuss global security trends and challenges in contemporary international relations, as well as Ukraine’s importance for regional and European security and democracy.

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