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Ukrainian President Says GDP Could Fall 20 Percent

Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko
Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko
KYIV -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has called the government's budget policies "amoral" and predicted that the GDP for the first quarter of 2009 would shrink by more than 20 percent, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Speaking to a forum of small- and medium-sized-business leaders in Kyiv, Yushchenko noted that according to a World Bank report on the ease of doing business, Ukraine was falling back in the rankings rather than moving forward.

Economic analyst Vasyl Yurchyshyn of the Kyiv-based Razumkov Center told RFE/RL that the drop in Ukraine's GDP may be even more than 20 percent.

The Ukrainian economy is driven by heavy industry, which fell by some 32 percent during the first quarter of this year.

Yurchyshyn said that that could drive the GDP down some 22-24 percent.