The head of the International Monetary Fund, a key financial backer of Ukraine in its fight against Russia, hailed on Tuesday, Feb. 21, Kyiv's efforts to tackle corruption and praised its "resilient" economy and people.

Ukraine has for years suffered endemic graft but efforts to stamp it out have been overshadowed by Moscow's war.

IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva, who was in Kyiv this week on her first visit to Ukraine since the start of Russia's invasion a year ago, praised Ukrainian authorities for their willingness to tackle graft.

"The Ukrainian authorities are very open about the corruption problems and very determined to fight it. So is the whole of society," Georgieva said in an interview with three international media, including AFP.


Georgieva said she was "optimistic" that Ukraine can make progress in its fight against corruption and that people "are not going to tolerate" it.

During the trip, she held meetings with Ukraine's leadership, including with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

She also visited Irpin, a town near Kyiv that was badly damaged during Russia's unsuccessful attempt to seize the capital last year.

Georgieva was in Kyiv following a slew of high-profile corruption scandals in the Ukrainian government.

The European Union has said anti-corruption reforms are a prerequisite for Ukraine's deeper European integration.

Ukraine's allies in Washington and Brussels have also pushed for progress on graft to continue receiving arms deliveries.

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Investigators earlier this week accused Mykola Solsky of illegally seizing land worth more than $7 million when he was the head of a major farming company and a member of parliament.

- 'Incredibly resilient' -

"A war is a breeding ground for corruption," Georgieva said, adding that she had not heard of attempts to "sugarcoat the issue" or seen a "lack of appetite to work with us."

She said however that Ukraine's anti-corruption structures need to be "further improved".

Georgieva also said the Ukrainian people and the country's economy proved "incredibly resilient" and the IMF expected a "gradual recovery of the economy" in 2023, which shrank by 30 percent last year.


She praised the "economic management" of the central government and local authorities who she said are "relentlessly working" to deliver on the expectations of the Ukrainian people.

"Pensions are paid, social services are delivered, repairs, when energy, heating or water are affected, are done fast," Georgieva said.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said on Monday the country was hoping to obtain a new aid programme from the IMF worth more than $15 billion.

Georgieva did not comment on this figure, only saying that the two sides were working "very hard to come to an agreement".


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