Activists throw tomatoes at portraits of parliamentary deputies, who were absent at the voting on the anti-corruption laws, outside the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev, October 7, 2014. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
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Ukraine's pro-Western government pressed ahead to secure new laws to tackle top-level government corruption Tuesday, hoping to ease public discontent before an election from which it wants backing for its plan to end a separatist rebellion.Bribery has been widespread at virtually all levels of Ukrainian government and public life since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 .A total of 64 Ukrainian armed service personnel have been killed since the ceasefire came into force, military prosecutor Anatoly Matios told a news conference.The Kiev leadership says corruption must be ended if Ukraine is to break with its post-Soviet culture and be taken seriously as a European partner.Despite the government's pledges to clean up public life, Poroshenko and Yatseniuk face public scepticism.The new laws run in parallel to a separate programme aimed at rooting out government officials closely identified with Poroshenko's Moscow-backed predecessor Yanukovich, who was ousted by street protests in February and fled to Russia.Though corruption and cronyism were features of Ukrainian life since independence, they reached a peak under Yanukovich, whose allies and family members built business empires.
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