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Ukraine vows to root out corruption as its pleads for help

Ukraine pledged to stamp out corruption as it appealed on Tuesday for urgent assistance from global donors to rebuild its troubled south-east and bolster its border with Russia.

BRUSSELS: Ukraine pledged to stamp out corruption as it appealed on Tuesday for urgent assistance from global donors to rebuild its troubled south-east and bolster its border with Russia.

Ukrainians were paying a "very high price" to turn away from Russia and towards the West, deputy premier Volodymyr Groysman told an EU-sponsored meeting to coordinate international support.

The government needed urgent financial and technical assistance to strengthen its south-east border, cope with people displaced by conflict, and rehabilitate the Donbas region, a concluding statement said.

The talks gathered officials from the 28 European Union nations as well as from the United States, Canada, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, and from international organisations and financial institutions.

The meeting allowed participants "to further demonstrate its support for Ukraine in this crucial transition period," the final statement said.

Groysman vowed to tackle Ukraine's notorious corruption, saying "donors' help will not be wasted," as western officials insisted on the need to carry out wide reforms.

"We as a new government need to address the problem of corruption that must be done away with. We need reform," the deputy premier agreed.

"The Ukrainian people have chosen definitively the European path but the price we are paying is very high".

The EU's enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele, who chaired the meeting, said Kiev must stick to plans for constitutional and judiciary reform, in addition to economic and energy sector reforms.

With an 11.1-billion-euro package already agreed, "any further financial support from the European Union will be linked to and dependent on ongoing reform efforts," Fuele said.

The IMF has also offered Ukraine a $17-billion (12.3-billion-euro) package of aid.

"The IMF funds have helped but are not enough," Groysman said as the country was facing "unprecedented aggression" both on the military and economic fronts.

Tuesday's talks were aimed at coordinating international support ahead of a donors' conference, but no date has been set yet.

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