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Washington Hails Ukrainian Officials' Public Declarations Of Wealth

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Washington has welcomed Ukrainian officials' public declarations of their wealth as a step toward increasing citizens' confidence in elected officials.

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told RFE/RL in an interview on November 2 that the asset declaration system is "an important first step" toward increasing transparency in government.

She added that the declarations are necessary in order for Ukrainians to "have confidence that their public officials don't have conflicts of interest and that their wealth is acquired in a legitimate manner."

She added that the asset declarations are now being looked at by journalists and anticorruption agencies in Ukraine and that scrutiny is an important second step to the process.

Officials had until October 30 to upload details of their assets and income in 2015 to a publicly searchable database, part of an International Monetary Fund-backed drive to boost transparency and modernize Ukraine's recession-hit economy.

The online declarations of wealth online have exposed a vast difference between the fortunes of politicians and those they represent.

Some senior officials declared millions of dollars in cash. Others said they owned fleets of luxury cars, expensive Swiss watches, diamond jewels, and large tracts of land.