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Corruption in Ukraine: A Battle Amidst the War

Corruption remains a significant issue in Ukraine, even amidst ongoing conflict with Russia. President Zelensky's aide calls for reform as the EU agrees to accession talks.

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Rizwan Shah
New Update
Corruption in Ukraine: A Battle Amidst the War

Despite the ongoing conflict with Russia, corruption remains a persistent problem among Ukrainian officials, according to Mikhail Podoliak, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Podoliak highlighted that the acceptance of bribes is still considered socially acceptable by many, representing a sign of success within certain circles. This is underscored by Ukraine's low ranking of 116th out of 180 on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index in 2022.

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A Society at War with Itself

Podoliak criticized those who seem to ignore the war and live as if it does not exist. Approximately 15% of Ukrainians, he suggested, may be willing to align with Russia. Reports suggest that some Ukrainian men are trying to avoid conscription by resorting to bribery, forgery, or fleeing. This has led to significant government actions, including a military purge by Zelensky firing officials involved in recruitment corruption and the replacement of the head of the state cyber security agency implicated in embezzlement.

(Also Read: Investigation into Boyko Borisov and Vladislav Goranov Ends; Bulgaria Faces Cyberattack and Aids Ukraine)

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Ukraine's Battle Against Corruption

A recent poll revealed that 63% of Ukrainians view corruption as a major issue, second only to the war. The European Union Commission, while agreeing to accession talks with Ukraine, has called for Kiev to implement anti-corruption reforms. This comes in the wake of multiple corruption scandals that have drawn the attention and concern of Ukraine's Western allies.

(Also Read: Ukraine to Conscript Men Living Abroad for Military Service)

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A Call for Reform

The urgency surrounding the corruption issue heightened after the EU agreed to initiate membership talks with Ukraine. Many Ukrainians have increasingly refused to fight for what they perceive to be a corrupt and incompetent government. As a response, President Zelensky launched a military purge and replaced the head of the state cyber security agency due to his implication in an embezzlement scheme.

The fight against corruption is not just about cleaning the ranks of the government but also about ensuring Ukraine's survival in the face of an ongoing conflict. If corruption persists, it may not only hamper Ukraine's ascension to the EU but also undermine its resistance against its eastern adversary.

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