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Ukraine Leader Warned On Bills Rolling Back Economic Reforms

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has dismissed legislation in Ukraine's parliament that would water down economic reforms demanded by the West in exchange for loans, saying it is sponsored by "lunatics."

In an interview with the Associated Press, Yatsenyuk predicted that none of several controversial bills to roll back reforms mandated by the International Monetary Fund would reach the floor of the parliament.

If they do, he said, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will veto them.

"In every parliament, you have populists. Sometimes they look like lunatics," Yatsenyuk said. "This government and this president are determined and committed to our reform agenda."

U.S. President Barack Obama urged Yatsenyuk in a White House meeting to follow through with the reforms and commitments to the IMF, which has extended $40 billion in loans to Ukraine but held back a recent installment because of the stall on reforms.

The IMF has warned that rolling back the reforms would jeopardize all future loans.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said the U.S. government would keep supporting Ukraine as long as it keeps moving in the right direction.

"The pressure is on the parliament to keep moving forward and to not slip backward," she said. "These are hard choices. The prime minister feels the pressure. But as long as they're moving forward, they're not alone."

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

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