Last week, during the Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC) in London, the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies (CFCS) at RUSI convened a series of meetings focused on how to ensure and support the credibility and resilience of Ukraine’s financial system, an essential condition for the country’s sound recovery.
On Monday 19 June CFCS launched the week with a conference on ‘Securing the Integrity and Resilience of Ukraine’s Financial System’. Offering a unique take on the vital topic of Ukraine’s recovery, the meeting gathered key institutional stakeholders from Ukraine such as the Central Bank, the State Agency for Restoration and Infrastructure Development, the National Agency of Prevention of Corruption (NAZK), and members of parliament along with international organisations such as the EBRD and USAID. It also offered a platform for the Ukrainian civil society to voice their support, assessment, and appeal to the Ukrainian government to advance reforms.
Through activities centred on project SMURF, CFCS at RUSI has built a broad coalition of partners reflecting the vibrant landscape of Ukrainian civil society. RUSI’s conference offered a rare opportunity for them to share their insights with the international community and added a critical dimension to the URC, with contributions from leading Ukrainian centres such as BRDO, CEDEM, Centre for Economic Strategy, Kyiv School of Economics, and the Institute of Legislative Ideas.
Watch the session recordings
Empowering Ukraine’s second line of defence is a central pillar of CFCS’s engagement in Ukraine. Supporting representatives of the country’s civil society with the knowledge to amplify stories on corruption and hold kleptocrats accountable was at the heart of the study tour for leading activists invited by CFCS to London and Brussels in March this year. Bolstering Ukrainian civil society not only helps them to be effective watchdogs. It also discourages malign actors from engaging in corruption and malpractice, acting as a deterrent. The video summary of the study tour can be accessed here.
Recognising the role of elected officials in the recovery process, CFCS director Tom Keatinge also joined British and Ukrainian parliamentarians to discuss how they can work together to support the recovery of Ukraine. As Tom noted, ‘in a week where Ukraine’s recovery dominated discussions in London, we would encourage parliamentarians to remember that the integrity of Ukraine’s financial system is paramount to ensure investors and donors can step up with confidence.’ This important meeting was convened by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ukraine and constituted a crucial supplement to the array of events held on the sidelines of the URC.
Lastly, CFCS and the Kyiv School of Economics co-hosted an in-person meeting of the Yermak-McFaul Expert Group on Russian Sanctions. The roundtable discussion addressed the latest developments in the sanctions landscape including recent circumvention challenges and new ideas on how to strengthen the effectiveness of sanctions imposed by the UK, the EU, the US, and other allies on Russia and Belarus.
To win the war Ukraine and its allies need to focus on two aims: eroding Russian capabilities and strengthening the resilience and integrity of its own country. The financial system is a fundamental element of this war. As Tom Keatinge reflects in the Politico article published on the eve of URC, ‘it is now critical that we expand and update knowledge of Ukraine’s progress, ensure it is widely understood and make sure that the plan for addressing remaining challenges, as well as strengthening the integrity of financial system oversight, supervision and enforcement is clearly articulated.’ This knowledge is central to consolidating the confidence required to secure financial commitments from international donors and businesses to invest in Ukraine. A series of CFCS engagements last week cemented a humble brick in a generational effort to win the war and secure a prosperous future for the Ukrainian nation.