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US urges Ukraine to elect prosecutor to fight corruption

#urges #Ukraine #elect #prosecutor #fight #corruption

The United States on Tuesday urged Ukraine to select a credible top prosecutor to replace one sacked by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and called for anti-corruption measures even as Kyiv battles Russian invaders.

“We join the Ukrainian people in emphasizing the importance of transparently appointing a highly qualified and truly independent successor as Attorney General,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

“The independence and impartiality of the Attorney General is essential to ensure the integrity of accountability efforts in Ukraine,” he said.

Price said the fight against corruption, long a major concern in Ukraine, is crucial as the country aspires to European Union membership.

“Corruption must be fought even as Ukraine defends itself against Russia’s war of aggression. Russia’s war against Ukraine poses an external threat. Corruption poses an internal threat,” he said.

Zelenskyy announced earlier this month that he would fire Attorney General Iryna Venediktova and Security Chief Ivan Bakanov.

Zelenskyy referred to the need to act against the alleged betrayal of officials who support Russia. The President had already criticized the performance of the two high-ranking figures before the Russian invasion on February 24.

The United States, which pumped billions of dollars into Ukraine to ward off Russia, has a memorable history of fighting corruption in Ukraine.

President Joe Biden, during his tenure as vice-president, on a trip to Kyiv, called for Ukraine to fire a former attorney general deemed ineffective in fighting corruption and warned that the United States would otherwise face $1 billion in loan guarantees would withhold US dollars.

The episode became the source of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories by former President Donald Trump, who was charged with withholding security aid from Ukraine unless Zelenskyy agreed to dig dirt on Biden.

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