Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said that the Cabinet of Ministers is completing work on drafting the state budget for 2010. He stated at a government meeting on Wednesday, according to UKRINFORM.

Azarov noted that the draft budget for 2010 was an anti-crisis budget and that there were only two ways of increasing budget expenditures significantly, in particular, through social development and investment.

He also said that all claims by the opposition that the retirement age could allegedly be raised and a rise in social standards would not be taken into account were speculation. "The budget takes into account an increase in social standards, and we'll increase social benefits this year and next year," Azarov said.

As UKRINFORM reported, Azarov earlier promised that the government would submit the draft state budget for 2010 to the Verkhovna Rada a month after he assumed the premier's post, i.e. by April 11.

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