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Ukraine aid bill moves ahead in US Senate, still faces hurdles

Published on Mar 25, 2014 8:17 AM
 
The Senate laid the groundwork for debating a Bill providing economic assistance to Ukraine and imposing sanctions over Russia's seizure of Crimea. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS 

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - A bill providing economic assistance to Ukraine and imposing sanctions over Russia's seizure of Crimea cleared a procedural hurdle in the US Senate on Monday, as backers attempted to win passage of the legislation later this week.

By a vote of 78-17, the Senate laid the groundwork for debating a bill that would back a US$ one billion (S$1.27 billion) loan guarantee for the government in Kiev, provide US$150 million in aid for Ukraine and neighbouring countries and require sanctions on Russians and Ukrainians responsible for corruption, human rights abuses or undermining stability in Ukraine.

Supporters of the law said Congress should act quickly and forcefully to discourage Russian President Vladimir Putin from moving further into Ukraine or any neighbouring countries.

The measure, however, also includes long-delayed reforms to the International Monetary Fund that are opposed by most Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives, and this has complicated efforts to pass a Ukraine aid bill.

 
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