Ukraine’s Security Council head, Volodymyr Horbulin, told a Washington gathering yesterday that the national leadership recognizes the gravity of official corruption in Ukraine and considers it to be the main reason for the stoppage of economic reforms. Horbulin, who is President Leonid Kuchma’s closest lieutenant, renewed an earlier request for CIA assistance in dealing with this problem. On a related issue, Horbulin expressed hope that Ukrainian economic reforms will soon be relaunched, so as to qualify Ukraine for NATO membership sooner that the year 2010. Some — including Horbulin himself — have recently suggested 2010 as a target date for Ukrainian accession to the alliance. (Reuter, May 13)
The issue of official and unofficial corruption in Ukraine has recently become an irritant in U.S.-Ukrainian relations and threatens U.S. aid to Ukraine. Some Ukrainian officials recently blamed the problem at least in part on misinformation, thus inadvertently suggesting a failure to come to grips with the real issue. Horbulin’s remarks suggest the opposite, as does Kuchma’s recent creation of an anti-corruption agency and the dismissal of a first batch of senior officials, including the Transport Minister, on corruption charges.
Russia Now Alone in not Recognizing Ukraine’s Borders.