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Biden official says there's no evidence that Ukraine is misusing US assistance

A top Biden administration official affirmed that no evidence exists that Ukraine is misusing the financial assistance it is receiving from the United States.

Samantha Power, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), said during a CNN town hall on Thursday evening that Ukraine has made progress for years in working to root out corruption, but officials are continually checking to ensure funding is being used properly. 

“Up until this point, we don’t have any evidence that U.S. assistance is being misused or misspent but, again, the key is not resting on anybody’s good will or virtue,” Power said in response to a question posed about Ukraine’s history of corruption. “It’s checks and balances, the rule of law, the integrity of officials.” 

Ukraine has struggled with corruption throughout much of its time as an independent country since separating from the Soviet Union in 1991, but Ukrainian officials have taken steps in recent years to institute reforms to limit corruption, most recently under the administration of President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

The USAID leader said Ukraine has seen a strengthening of its institutions fighting corruption since 2014, when then-President Viktor Yanukovych was forced out of office amid widespread protests over his close ties to Russia. 

She also explained that the U.S. Government Accountability Office launched a new initiative to help Ukraine expand its auditing institution, which she said will be needed for the reconstruction of Ukraine. 

Power added that the U.S. does not provide for resources like paying health workers or providing disability support to Ukraine unless officials see a receipt for an expenditure and acts on a basis of reimbursing Ukraine for its spending. 

Some Republicans who have raised doubts about the continued U.S. support for Ukraine have questioned how the money being sent there is being used. 

Zelensky removed some officials in his government last month as part of a push against corruption. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov also shuffled some of his top staff earlier this month over corruption allegations in his department.

Source: The Hill

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