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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kuchma Urges Deputies to Push Reforms

KIEV -- Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma told his new parliament to approve harsh reforms or risk sending the country lurching into a debt crisis.

Kuchma's annual state of the nation address, delivered on the day of parliament's first session, clearly aimed to please the International Monetary Fund, which stands to deliver a large credit if Ukraine reforms.

"If we do not take cardinal measures right away to cut spending and raise realistic revenues the country will fall into a chronic debt problem," Kuchma said.

"The situation is complex but there is no intention to let it get more dramatic as it is under control," the president added.

Kuchma told the lawmakers in parliament that the government would seek its approval to change the 1998 budget to cut the deficit to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product from the previously-approved 3.3 percent of GDP.

The IMF said this week it would support Ukraine's attempts at getting a three-year Extended Fund Facility loan, estimated at $2.5 million, if it fulfills a long list of conditions.