Supervising and Monitoring Ukraine’s Reconstruction Funds (SMURF)

SMURF aims to empower Ukraine’s civil society as the ‘second line of defence’ by providing the necessary expertise and tools to enhance the financial monitoring capabilities of Ukraine’s reconstruction funds.

The war in Ukraine has devastated the country and upended the lives of millions of Ukrainians. Though we cannot be sure when Russia’s aggression will end, it is already clear that Ukraine will need a massive injection of funds to begin reconstruction once hostilities cease. This will require proper mechanisms and expertise to ensure that these funds are not being mismanaged or pilfered.

Traditional control systems, also known as the ‘first line of defence’, have proven ineffective in the past, particularly because those responsible for applying the controls are also able to profit from this activity. SMURF aims to empower Ukraine’s ‘second line of defence’, civil society, to gather the expertise and tools that will enable it to monitor the proper allocation of funds and discourage kleptocracy and corruption.


The project will focus on the delivery of in-person and online events, training and study tours to key selected civil society actors involved in the monitoring and management of Ukraine’s reconstruction funds. The focus will primarily be on:

  • Providing Ukraine’s civil society – financial experts, investigative journalists, activists – with expert tools to properly monitor the allocation of funds and discourage corruption and kleptocracy.
  • Building national and international connections to support the fight against corruption in Ukraine.
  • Resuming Ukraine’s AML/CTF efforts halted by the war, particularly focusing on adopting adequate legislation such as the Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO).
  • Raising awareness on essential aspects of the supervision and monitoring of reconstruction funds through public debate, expert commentaries, and discussion.
  • Fostering European cooperation and support for the reconstruction efforts by introducing selected participants to relevant policymakers and actors in Brussels.
  • Providing the selected participants with key knowledge of successful public-private partnerships in the fight against financial crime.
  • Building an international network of experts to tackle disinformation on corruption that is used as a tool for reducing foreign aid to Ukraine.

Project impact

The project’s impact will be both reactive and proactive. Empowering Ukraine’s second line of defence will equip key members of the country’s civil society with the knowledge to cover stories on corruption and hold kleptocrats accountable. However, it will also discourage people from engaging in corruption and malpractice, acting too as a deterrent.


Here we share the latest findings from a series of workshops held and the learnings from the study tour programme, the first of which took place between 13 and 24 March 2023. 

Brussels and London study tour: 13 - 24 March, 2023

As a part of this project, RUSI brought to Brussels (March 13-17) and London (March 20-24) a cohort of leading Ukrainian anticorruption activists, i.a. members of RISE Ukraine coalition and BRDO think tank, and investigative journalists from OCCRP and N-ost, working closely with the Ukrainian government on transparency and accountability in Ukraine’s reconstruction.

The study tour aimed at empowering them in the effective monitoring of international aid allocations for Ukraine’s reconstruction and advocating for Ukraine’s interests. The cohort spent two intense weeks in Brussels and London meeting key policy-making and research stakeholders. The week in Brussels included engagements with representatives of the European Commission, European Parliament, local think tanks, and journalists. And the week in London featured the meetings with the members of the British parliament, government, civil society and media.

Summary report

The Securing Integrity of Ukraine’s Reconstruction Funding Conference: Summary Report
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Recording: Securing Integrity of Ukraine’s Reconstruction Funding Conference
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Latest conference

Recording: Securing the Integrity and Resilience of Ukraine’s Financial System - Conference
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Securing the Integrity and Resilience of Ukraine’s Financial System: Conference Report

Ukrainian translation of the Conference Report: Securing the Integrity and Resilience of Ukraine’s Financial System

Забезпечення доброчесності та стійкості фінансової системи України

Partners and sponsor

  • RUSI Europe

    Based in Brussels, RUSI Europe builds on the Royal United Services Institute’s almost 200 years of expertise in security and defence. We carry out research, provide a forum for security and defence dialogues, and are committed to help solve the most urgent security and defence challenges. Our mission is to leverage the Institute’s research capacities to inform policy-making at the EU, NATO and among their member states.

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  • Better Regulation Delivery Office

    Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) is a leading Ukrainian independent think tank in the field of economic regulation with a focus on implementation. The office was established in 2015 as a non-governmental non-profit organization to assist the government in carrying out medium- and long-term economic reforms to improve the business environment in conditions of political instability.

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Project sponsor

  • National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

    The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a private, non-profit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Each year, NED makes more than 2,000 grants to support the projects of non-governmental groups abroad who are working for democratic goals in more than 100 countries.

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