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US Congress Votes to Aid Ukraine, Penalize Russia

The U.S. Congress has sent a strong message to Russia for its annexation of Crimea by passing measures that give aid to Ukraine and penalize Moscow.

Lawmakers in the House and the Senate overwhelmingly approved separate measures on Thursday.

Both bills include $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine and penalize Russia for its actions in Crimea.

Lawmakers in both chambers will have to resolve differences on other provisions before sending a final bill to President Barack Obama.

Democratic Congressman Elliot Engel said if the United States continues to work with Ukraine and help turn the country "Westward," then Russian President Vladimir Putin "will have lost."

He said Putin may have a "land grab" in Crimea, but would lose the rest of Ukraine.



The House and Senate votes took place on the same day that the International Monetary Fund pledged to provide Ukraine with up to $18 billion in loans.

But, the IMF says Ukraine, in exchange, must agree to enact tough economic reforms. ]]

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