Washington says Kiev is not doing enough to fight the issue and claims it could imperil future military and economic aid FILE PHOTO. Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken © Getty Images / Ukrainian Presidency; Handout; Anadolu Agency

Ukraine’s allies in the West, including the US, have accused Kiev of not making enough progress in eliminating corruption, and are warning that it could cost the country military and economic support in the future, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

The outlet noted that while Ukrainian officials have admitted that corruption remains an issue in the country, they have insisted that they are battling it “as fiercely as their troops are fighting Russia” and have been making great strides in recent years, suggesting that the West was not giving Kiev sufficient credit for its efforts.

As new corruption cases are opened nearly every month against high-ranking government officials, the head of the special anti-corruption unit within Ukraine’s Prosecutor’s Office, Alexander Klimenko, stressed that the fact that “the number of cases has doubled doesn’t mean that there is twice as much corruption.”

“On the contrary: it means that we’re twice as effective as before,” Klimenko was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.

However, US officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have reportedly been dissatisfied with the results of Kiev’s war on corruption. The meeting between Vladimir Zelensky and Blinken in Kiev last month was “tense,” the Washington Post reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter. While the Ukrainian leader expressed his appreciation for US military aid, he was also reportedly frustrated with Blinken’s focus on corruption.

“Winning on the battlefield will prevent Ukraine from becoming part of Russia,” Blinken said following the meeting. “Winning the war against corruption will keep Ukraine from becoming like Russia,” he added.

Ukrainians want US to stop corruption complaints – NBC Ukrainians want US to stop corruption complaints – NBC

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Ukrainians want US to stop corruption complaints – NBC

But many in Zelensky’s team, as per the Washington Post, privately argue that although corruption remains a challenge for the country, efforts to fight it could distract them from the primary goal of defeating Russia. Some senior Ukrainian officials have also been complaining that Kiev’s Western backers were using the “stereotype of Ukraine as corrupt” as an excuse to delay additional aid.

On Monday, the European Commission also appeared to express doubt in Kiev’s ability to properly manage foreign aid, and announced the creation of a special watchdog to prevent “fraud, corruption and conflicts of interest,” as well as the possible embezzlement of billions of dollars allocated to Kiev as part of the EU’s plan to finance Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Moscow has repeatedly condemned continued Western military and financial aid to Ukraine, arguing that it only serves to prolong hostilities and cause more bloodshed without affecting the inevitable outcome of the conflict. (RT)