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    Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk addresses deputies at the parliament in Kiev. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 March 2016

A new decree sets out a new “loyalty” rule for public workers,

The far-right government in Ukraine clamped down on freedom of expression when it banned government officials on Tuesday from publicly criticizing the work of state institutions and their colleagues.

The rule on "loyalty" is one of several outlined in a new ethics code that civil servants must follow or face disciplinary action, according to a decree posted on the government website.

"The government has decided to introduce standards of ethical conduct for civil servants to restore public faith in the work of the state bodies and officials," the decree said.

The move to stifle criticisms from within appears to be spurred by the resignation of Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius and ex-prosecutor Vitaliy Kasko, who both recently alleged serious corruption inside state institutions.

Kasko resigned as prosecutor last week alleging corruption in the prosecution service. While Abromavicius resigned in early February but his resignation has yet to be considered by parliament.

Charges of corruption are cause for major headaches for Ukraine's government as the country’s economy is effectively being propped up by a $40 billion Western aid program.

That aid comes with conditions, including the implementation of reforms.

The political turbulence has further delayed the disbursement of critical financial aid from the International Monetary Fund and raised doubts about Prime Minister Arsney Yatseniuk's ability to win parliamentary support for promised reforms.

The prosecution service is one of the institutions the Ukrainian government needs to reform under the terms of the aid program and lenders have long said progress has been slow.

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