Ukraine's parliament approves 2023 state 'victory' budget

Ukrainian lawmakers attend a session of parliament in Kyiv, Ukraine February 23, 2022. REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi/File Photo

KYIV, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Ukrainian parliament on Thursday approved the 2023 draft budget with a record deficit of $38 billion, a spending plan that the prime minister said was intended to help bring victory against Russia closer.

Senior lawmakers said the budget was overwhelmingly approved, with 295 members of parliament voting for it and none opposing it. Thirty-five abstained.

"Do everything to bring victory closer. It was with this philosophy that we drafted this budget," Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said after the vote.

He had said earlier this week that it would be a "budget for victory", setting aside more than 1 trillion hryvnias ($27.08 billion) to the armed forces and national security following Russia's Feb. 24 invasion.

Other key expenses would be pensions, healthcare and education, he said.

Parliament's finance, tax and customs policy committee said before the vote that the budget deficit would stand at 20.6% of Gross Domestic Product, that GDP could grow by 3.2 percent in 2023 and that inflation could be 28% next year.

Shmyhal after the vote that GDP could fall by 32% this year, and that inflation in 2022 could be 29.3%.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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