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House leaders promise aid to Ukraine, sanctions for Russia

March 5, 2014 at 4:49 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 5 (UPI) -- U.S. House Republicans promised Wednesday there will be a quick vote on aid for the new Ukraine government and "crippling sanctions" against Russia.

That promise came before a group of U.S. senators introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning Russian military action in Crimea and urging the Obama administration and European Union to impose economic and diplomatic leverage against Russia unless it ends the aggression.

"Russia has a clear track record of reckless disregard for its international obligations," said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a co-sponsor of the resolution.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday with top officials from the State and Treasury departments expected to testify, The Hill reported.

"We must place crippling sanctions on Russian high-ranking officials, state-owned banks and commercial enterprises, and key individuals behind the Russian intervention," Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., said in a statement. "Only by forcing Putin to reverse his aggression and by supporting Ukraine in this time of national crisis can we hope to restore peace in the region."

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday his country sent troops to the Crimea to protect its own nationals and ethnic Russian-language speakers from violence supported by the United States.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the House could vote this week on aid to Ukraine. The Obama administration has promised a $1 billion package of loan guarantees and other assistance to the interim government.

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