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Ukraine approves 2016 budget to unlock Western aid

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyk (R) and Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko react after the 2016 state budget was accepted by the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev on December 25, 2015The Ukrainian parliament on Friday adopted a budget for next year with a deficit of 3.7 percent of GDP, crucial for unlocking much needed aid from the IMF and Western countries. The 2016 budget was passed after an acrimonious all-night debate and was finally approved by 263 lawmakers, about 40 more than the minimum required. The cash-strapped and war-scarred country badly needs aid and the adoption of the budget is a key condition to secure the release of a delayed $1.7 billion (1.6 billion euro) tranche from the International Monetary Fund and other Western aid.

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