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Congress Approves Ukraine Aid, Sanctions On Russia

The House and Senate approved $1 billion in loan guarantees for Ukraine and sanctions on Moscow for Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Thursday's voice vote in the Senate and a 399-19 vote in the House for a different version of the bill came just hours after the International Monetary Fund pledged $18 billion in assistance for the former Soviet satellite.

Among other things, the aid package directs the White House to help the new Ukrainian government identify and recover illegal assets claimed by the country's ousted pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, as well as members of his family and government.

The vote is a show of support for President Obama, who has already announced the sanctions against the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Washington Post says the House bill "puts into law several executive orders issued by Obama in recent days to punish Russian officials tied to the uprising in Ukraine and Crimea.

"The House measure authorizes the Treasury Department to closely monitor Russian banks for signs that they are undermining Ukrainian assets; bolsters funding for Voice of America and Radio Free Europe broadcasts into Ukraine and Crimea; and calls for increased U.S. investments in the Ukrainian economy."

The House and Senate still must agree on minor differences in the two chambers' version of the bill.

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