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U.S. Envoy In Kyiv Confident Ukraine Will Overcome Difficulties

  • RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service

The U.S. envoy in Kyiv says Ukrainians will overcome their current difficulties of armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, corruption, and financial problems because they have survived so many major crises in recent years.

"I think having survived 2014 -- the invasion of Crimea, the [deadly] shootings on the Maidan, the collapse of the [Ukrainian] hryvnya and the financial system -- Ukraine can survive anything if it got through 2014," U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt told RFE/RL in an interview on August 17.

Pyatt, who will leave his post in the coming days to take the U.S. ambassador's post in Greece, said he considers those crises in 2014 and the following years to be "the most difficult years" for Ukraine since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

He said the United States had played "an important role in helping the Ukrainian people to take control once again of their own democracy."

"I think one of my regrets is that the [Ukrainian] government, the [Ukrainian] presidency, were not able to move more quickly against the cancer of corruption," he said.

He added that the battle against corruption was "one of the major challenges that still stands before Ukraine and the Ukrainian people."

Pyatt, 52, praised the role of the Ukraine's new corruption-fighting institutions, the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine and a special anticorruption prosecutor.

He said the difficult job of changing attitudes in society to help prevent corrupt practices "should have begun 25 years ago and I think I regret that perhaps I could have played a more assertive role earlier on these issues."

Pyatt has been ambassador in Ukraine since 2013 and was an active supporter of the Euromaidan protests in Kyiv that ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.