By Burc Eruygur
ISTANBUL (AA) - Ukraine said on Tuesday that it has received more than $7 billion from the US and the EU since the start of the year.
“Since the beginning of the year, Ukraine has received almost $5 billion of support from the EU, more than $2 billion of support from the US,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at a government meeting.
Stating that Kyiv has an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a new financial program, Shmyhal said that the country has received financial assistance from the UK, the World Bank, Germany, Spain, Finland, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium, Iceland, and Estonia.
“Norway continued the payment program for 50,000 Ukrainians who are in difficult living conditions and suffered from Russian aggression. Likewise, payments under UN and Red Cross programs continue,” Shmyhal further said.
Shmyhal also said the government will pass an order to receive $2.6 billion from the US and other partners as a part of Kyiv’s second grant in providing salaries to emergency service workers, teachers, and doctors, as well as to help pensioners, internally displaced persons, people with disabilities and low-income families.
“We are grateful to our friends from the US and all partners for their help. In all directions. Our active cooperation continues, and this applies not only to the provision of financial support to Ukraine,” Shmyhal added.
- Government work on anti-corruption, energy
Shmyhal also touched on the issue of corruption in Ukraine, saying that they are actively continuing to work with international partners on transformation and reforms in Ukraine, particularly concerning anti-corruption reform.
“This month, a key European anti-corruption body, GRECO, released a report which found that we have carried out more anti-corruption reforms in the past year than in previous years. This is an important assessment against the background of our ambitious goal to start negotiations on accession to the European Union as soon as possible,” he said.
He further said that the government’s anti-corruption strategy revolves around the idea of creating conditions where abuse and corruption are “simply impossible.”
“This means maximum digitization of all government processes and services. This means deregulation for business. It also means reducing the role of the state in the economy, and primarily the privatization of state-owned enterprises. We continue our work in this direction so that both Ukrainian citizens and our partners see and feel these changes,” he said.
He also said cooperation in the energy industry is another sector where Ukraine and its partners are working together.
In this regard, he said that it is important to continue pressuring Russia in connection with its control of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) since March last year, adding that frequent power cuts are observed in the plant, thus creating risks for the entire continent.
“Nuclear terrorism by Russia must receive an appropriate response and we will continue to work in this direction. Yesterday, (Ukrainian) President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with the head of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), Rafael Grossi, regarding this issue. We expect that the IAEA will continue its systematic work to prevent any incidents, which is only possible if the Russian troops leave the territory of the ZNPP,” he added.
A number of Ukrainian officials have either stepped down or have been relieved of their duties since Jan. 24 after Zelenskyy declared that he would reshuffle officials at various levels in ministries and central and local administrative bodies as well as in law enforcement to build “a strong state.”
Ukraine has long suffered endemic corruption, but Russia's “special military operation” is said to have overshadowed the government's efforts to stamp out graft.