Washington, April 2: The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday for a package of aid and sanctions in response to Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region, and sent the measure to the White House for President Barack Obama to sign into law.
The 378-34 vote backed a package that was overwhelmingly approved last week by the U.S. Senate, a rare show of bipartisanship after weeks of haggling between Democrats and Republicans over how best to respond to the crisis.
The legislation backs a $1 billion loan guarantee for the Kiev government, provides $150 million in aid to Ukraine and surrounding countries and requires the U.S. State and Justice Departments to help the Kiev government recover assets amassed by corrupt Ukrainian officials.
It also imposes mandatory sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, against Russians and Ukrainians determined to have engaged in violence or human rights abuses in Ukraine, who undermined Ukraine's sovereignty or participated in "significant" corruption in Ukraine.
“The US House and Senate stand together in backing the Ukrainian people during this hour of need,” House Speaker John Boehner said immediately after the vote, promising to monitor Obama’s actions.
“We’ll now continue our efforts to ensure he utilises every tool at his disposal — including re-evaluating security assistance to Ukraine and NATO allies and expanding America’s vast energy supplies — to undermine Russia’s stranglehold on Europe.”
"This legislation is central to our effort to counter Russian aggression and support the democratic development of Ukraine," said California Republican Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Obama welcomed the passage of a Bill that will provide Ukraine with “essential steps to restore economic stability and return to growth and prosperity,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.