WASHINGTON, March 24 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)