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According to a confidential US strategy document obtained by the American media, Joe Biden's administration is much more concerned about corruption in Ukraine than it has publicly stated.

The US long-term "sensitive and confidential" plan reveals a number of steps Washington is taking to help Kiev root out corruption and reform some areas.

According to the secret documents, corruption is at a level that could lead Western allies to cut off support for Ukraine against the Russian invasion.

The clear message to Kiev at this stage is that it cannot delay its anti-corruption efforts.

The document warns that the perception of high-level corruption "could undermine the trust of the Ukrainian people and foreign leaders in the government."

There are two versions of the strategy document.

The first is a 22-page document with softer language that the US State Department has publicly released on its website in recent weeks.

The second, secret version, titled "Integrated Country Strategy", is nearly three times as long.

It contains much more detail on US objectives in Ukraine, from privatizing banks to teaching more English in schools and encouraging the military to adopt NATO protocols.

This document (the second version) is reportedly designed to reduce the corruption that plagues many (allied) countries.

Biden administration reluctant to publicly warn Kiev
According to analysts, the quiet unveiling of the strategy and the fact that the tough language was left to the stealth version underscores the difficult messaging situation facing the Biden administration.

Washington wants to pressure Ukraine to stop bribing it, because it is American money at stake.

But speaking too loudly on the issue could embolden those who oppose US aid to Ukraine, many of them Republican lawmakers who have tried to block it.

Western experts also believe that a perceived weakening of American support for Kiev could make more European countries think twice about helping Ukraine.

Chronic corruption in Ukraine has long plagued US officials from the bottom to the top, all the way up to President Biden.

But the issue has become less important since Russia's invasion in February 2022, which Biden characterized as a "war of true democracy against autocracy."

For months, US experts say, the Biden team was content with a cursory mention of corruption.

This was because they wanted to show solidarity with Kiev and avoid further backlash from some Republican lawmakers who criticized US military and economic aid to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has recently sought to reassure the United States and Europe by dismissing several top defense officials as part of a crackdown on alleged corruption.