Earlier this week on Tuesday, clashes broke out between demonstrators and police in front of Ukraine’s parliament in Kiev while deputies inside repeatedly voted down proposals to recognize a controversial World War II-era Ukrainian partisan group as national heroes. Previously, thousands of supporters of the Ukrainian Svoboda nationalist party rallied in the capital in celebration of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, whose struggle for Ukrainian independence was tainted by their collaboration with the Nazis. Later, masked men attacked and threw smoke grenades at lines of police outside parliament as lawmakers met inside.
Meanwhile, at least 14 people were killed in fighting between pro-Russian separatists and government forces in eastern Ukraine. Despite the ceasefire that was put in place back in early September, violence continues on a regular basis. Svoboda claims that they weren’t responsible for the unrest in Kiev, despite police accusations. The unrest overshadowed the passage of laws that the government hopes will contain the rampant corruption that has plagued the Ukrainian economy. While addressing the issue, President Poroshenko equated the problem of corruption to terrorism.
One law backed by the majority of the Ukrainian parliament would create an anti-corruption bureau to fight graft. Other proposals thrown around include laws to stem money-laundering and to increase corporate transparency. Parliament also approved a new defense minister, former National Guard head Stepan Poltorak, an essential move to combat the continued unrest in eastern Ukraine’s industrial regions. Tuesday, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said their positions had come under rocket fire more than 30 times in 24 hours alone. In the same period of time, seven servicemen in eastern Ukraine were killed, mostly by landmines.
Much of the fighting in eastern Ukraine has been focused on the government-held airport in the rebel-held city Donetsk. In the last three weeks, rebels claim that 27 of their men have been killed fighting for the airport. However, it’s civilians who have been hit hardest by the fighting.