On a recent visit to Ukraine, Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged the economic and political reforms the country has made over the past year. He also stressed the need to complete the reform process and announced a planned additional $190 million in U.S. assistance, pending consultation with Congress to help Ukraine get the job done.
These new funds will help Ukraine advance reforms, fight corruption, and attract more investment by streamlining regulations and privatizing state-owned enterprises in a transparent way. In addition, the assistance will increase Ukraine’s capacity for trade and improve access to capital for small- and medium-sized enterprises, strengthen energy security, and supporting civil society and independent media.
It is critical that corruption be permanently rooted out of the political culture of Ukraine. As Vice President Biden said, “The Ukrainian people cannot once again have their hopes dashed based on the cancer of corruption.”
Vice President Biden also reaffirmed that the U.S. continues to stand firmly with the people of Ukraine in the face of ongoing aggression from Russia and Russian-backed separatists. The U.S. continues to believe that the best way to end the conflict in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas is through a framework laid out in the Minsk agreement.
It is incumbent on Russia to fully implement the Minsk agreement and work constructively with Ukraine to create the conditions for free, fair, and safe local elections in Donbas.
The illegal invasion by Russia of Crimea will not be accepted by us or the international community."
On Crimea, said Vice President Biden, “Let me be absolutely clear. . .the illegal invasion by Russia of Crimea will not be accepted by us or the international community. This attempted annexation is contrary to international law, is wrong and we will not accept it under any circumstance.”
Ukraine is on the cusp, said Vice President Biden. What happens in the next year is likely to determine the fate of the country for generations. It is up to Ukraine’s leaders to work together in order to ensure that Ukraine goes down the path of Euro-Atlantic integration, democracy, and economic prosperity.