Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has accused former president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, of spreading Russian propaganda about Ukraine’s corruption. Zelensky referred to allegations of rampant corruption in Ukraine as a “Russian narrative” designed to erode Western support for Kiev.
Speaking after the summit of the bloc’s leaders in Granada, Zelensky stated that Ukraine’s unity and support from Europe cannot be divided. He claimed that the United States and its intelligence services have learned about the roots of the idea to undermine society and support in the world. Zelensky vehemently denied the accusations of corruption, asserting that not a single dollar was stolen from their partners during the conflict with Russia. He admitted, however, that there were instances involving different people and cases.
Zelensky criticized Juncker for not taking a more proactive role in supporting Ukraine, stating that instead of spreading supposed “Russian narratives” about corruption, Juncker should have personally done more for Ukraine. Zelensky described Juncker’s comments as stupid and questioned his motives for writing such narratives, suggesting that Juncker may have done so because people have forgotten who he is.
In an interview with Germany’s Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper, Juncker argued that Ukraine should implement massive reforms before it can join the European Union. He stated that Ukraine is a country corrupt at all levels of society and that Brussels should not make any false promises to the suffering people in Ukraine.
These remarks by Juncker have sparked controversy and drawn a response from Zelensky, who defended Ukraine’s integrity and denied the allegations of widespread corruption. Zelensky called for more support from Europe and emphasized the need for unity in the face of Russian propaganda.
The issue of corruption in Ukraine has long been a concern for Western countries considering Ukraine’s potential membership in the European Union. The accusations and counter-accusations between Zelensky and Juncker reflect the ongoing debate and scrutiny surrounding Ukraine’s path towards EU integration.
As the situation unfolds, it remains to be seen how this exchange of words will impact Ukraine’s relationship with the European Union and the broader international community. Efforts to address corruption and implement reforms will be crucial for Ukraine’s progress and for dispelling any doubts about its eligibility for EU membership.