This was stated by Mark Pfeifle in an op-ed article for Foreign Policy, Censor.NET reports citing excerpts from his text below.
According to the former U.S. security adviser, most Americans have all but forgotten Russia's invasion of Crimea in 2014, and at least one U.S. Presidential candidate seems willing to pardon it altogether. Nevertheless, Russians still occupy Crimea, and pro-Russian rebels, supported by the Russian military, control much of the country's two eastern provinces: Donetsk and Luhansk.
Russia is deploying a massive military force along Ukraine's borders, which will be capable of invasion by 2018. The ongoing fighting in Donbas strains the Ukrainian society and undermines people's trust in the government.
And then, there is corruption, of the most systemic and ubiquitous kind, corruption that the Obama administration singled out as one of the main threats to Ukrainian state. It would be difficult to fight corruption at the best of times, but during the Russian military engagement and pervasive subversion sponsored by the Kremlin this is all but mission impossible.
Obama's delicate carrot-and-stick approach hasn't worked, and the long-simmering Ukrainian kettle threatens to boil into the worst crisis in relations between Moscow and Washington since the Cold War.
Despite all the best efforts of the West since its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine is a kleptocracy. Its political history amounts to little more than a non-stop perp-walk, with one popularly elected leader kicked out of the country in a popular uprising, another suspected of murder, and the third blamed for the weakened institutions and lost opportunities.
The Russia-inspired war killed thousands of Ukrainians and displaced a million more, but when asked which is more urgent - the war against the pro-Russian rebels or the war against corruption - Ukrainians believe corruption is more important, by a margin of more than two-to-one.
The next U.S. president is sure to find Ukraine besieged on all sides: With Russian troops and pro-Russian rebels at its throat and corruption destroying it from within -and as the Leshchenko scandal suggests, not all in Ukraine is what it appears to be.
The new president must learn to discern Ukraine's true reformers from those who made anti-corruption crusades into a lucrative business, and be able to distinguish real action from empty words.
If not, the two and a half decades-long Ukrainian experiment with independence may boil over completely.