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Ukraine Parliament Backs Debt Restructuring Deal

The Ukrainian parliament has given its backing to a debt restructuring deal that aims to save Kyiv billions of dollars and bolster its financial stability.

The speaker of parliament, Volodymyr Groisman, called it a "victory for Ukraine," after lawmakers approved three laws needed to pass the deal.

There was heated debate before the vote on September 17, but in the end the bills passed with more than 300 "yes" votes for each law compared with the 226 minimum needed.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told parliament that a "yes" vote meant a vote for "economic growth, foreign investment, increasing the number of jobs, and a rise in social standards."

Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko -- who led negotiations with Ukraine's commercial leaders to secure the deal -- also addressed parliament ahead of the vote.

She later tweeted that Greece -- also facing debt negotiations with creditors -- "could only dream of such a deal."

However, some Ukrainian lawmakers voiced dissatisfaction with the deal, which aims to cut Ukraine's debt to 71 percent of annual economic output by 2020 from an estimated 100 percent now.

"We have to vote for this disgrace through tears," former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said.

Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax