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Amid war, Ukrainian parliament approves 2023 state budget

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KYIV — Ukraine’s parliament approved the 2023 draft budget with a “record deficit” of $38 billion, a senior parliamentarian said on Thursday, describing it as a “budget for victory” against Russia.

Yaroslav Zheleznyak, the first deputy chairman of parliament’s finance, tax and customs policy committee, said on the Telegram messaging app that 295 lawmakers had voted for the budget and none had opposed it.

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Zheleznyak did not immediately provide any other details of the budget, approved as Ukraine battles Russian forces that invaded the country on Feb. 24.

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His committee has said the budget deficit will stand at 20.6% of Gross Domestic Product, that GDP could grow by 3.2 percent in 2023 and inflation could be 28% next year.

“This will be a budget for victory, because more than 1 trillion hryvnias ($27.08 billion) will be directed to the armed forces and security of the country. Other key expenses are pensions, healthcare and education,” Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said this week after a government meeting.

The government has said GDP could fall by 30% this year and that inflation in 2022 could also be 30%. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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