Ukraine aid bill moves ahead in U.S. Senate, hurdles still ahead

WASHINGTON, March 24 Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:14pm EDT

WASHINGTON, March 24 (Reuters) - A bill providing economic assistance to Ukraine and imposing sanctions over Russia's actions in Ukraine cleared a procedural hurdle in the U.S. 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 $1 billion loan guarantee for the government in Kiev, provide $150 million in aid for Ukraine and neighboring countries and require sanctions on Russians and Ukrainians responsible for corruption, human rights abuses or undermining stability in Ukraine.

The measure also includes reforms to the International Monetary Fund that are opposed by many congressional Republicans and are not included in a version of the bill in the House of Representatives, which could complicate efforts to pass a Ukraine aid bill. (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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