The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
Challenges: The Ukrainian government faces intense political, military, and economic pressure from Russia and the pernicious influence of deeply rooted corruption. Russia continues its aggression in eastern Ukraine and its occupation of Crimea, closes its markets to Ukrainian goods, and exploits weak institutions and corrupt actors to thwart reforms. Despite these challenges, the Ukrainian government has implemented several important reforms and laid the foundations of a new system to fight corruption and align law enforcement agencies with U.S. and European standards and practices. Much remains to be done to institutionalize these reforms and ensure the system is more effective at combating transnational crime and corruption.
Goals: The United States improves Ukraine’s capacity to deliver citizen security and combat organized crime. This work builds law enforcement cooperation between the United States and Ukraine to address transnational threats, including those with a U.S. nexus. The United States also strengthens criminal justice sector institutions and improves citizens’ trust in government, enhancing Ukraine’s resilience to Russian malign influence. INL objectives in Ukraine are to strengthen law enforcement agencies to address complex security challenges facing Ukraine; reform criminal justice agencies in line with Western best practices; and to support Ukraine’s efforts to tackle corruption, including through independent anti-corruption agencies.
Accomplishments: INL has supported the Government of Ukraine to meet the aspirations of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity by standing up new institutions, agencies, and units designed to fight corruption, improve security, and increase access to justice. INL supported the Ukrainian government to replace the notoriously corrupt traffic police with a 16,000 strong Patrol Police nationwide and has helped establish the country’s first Patrol Police Academy. This project is one of Ukraine’s most visible reforms and is credited for changing the way Ukrainian citizens interact with and perceive law enforcement. INL also helped reform and modernize the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Counter-Narcotics Department (CND), and seizures of criminal proceeds increased between 2016 and 2018 seventeen fold. INL also supported the Ukrainian government’s establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO), which have launched over hundreds of investigations against high-level corrupt actors since their founding. INL helped the Border Guards establish two model border crossing points and is in the process of establishing eight more across Ukraine to address corruption issues and support Ukraine as they seek to apprehend criminals and terrorists moving across Ukrainian territory. While much progress has been made, INL looks forward to continuing improvement.