(AP) - The United States has given US$2.7 million (2.25 million euros) to Ukraine to help the new government fight corruption and strengthen the rule of law, the U.S. Embassy said June 21, Kiev Post informed.

U.S. Ambassador John Herbst and Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko signed a protocol on June 17 concerning the allocation of U.S. law enforcement assistance funds.

The funds will go toward technical assistance, training, and equipment to combat corruption, human trafficking, money-laundering and strengthening the independence of Ukrainian courts.  President Viktor Yushchenko has vowed to crack down on corruption, which plagued former President Leonid Kuchma's decade-long tenure. He has pledged to hold former officials accountable for any proven misdeeds.

Lutsenko underscored the aid's importance, given "the special attention paid by the government of Ukraine to the fight against organized crime, drug-smuggling, and trafficking in persons." Critics of Ukraine's former government have blamed corruption for the ease with which criminals operated in this ex-Soviet republic. 

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