Russia says planned US financial aid to Ukraine is illegal

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia warned the United States on Tuesday about the consequences of planned financial support to what it called Ukraine’s illegitimate regime, saying the aid would be illegal.

The U.S. House of Representatives last week approved $1 billion worth of loan guarantees for Ukraine and U.S. senators are preparing legislation that aides said would be broader and could include sanctions against Russia.

The Russian foreign ministry explicitly referred to a statement made earlier on Tuesday by ousted President Viktor Yanukovich asserting that any such aid would be illegal.

“By all criteria, issuing funding to an illegitimate regime that seized power by force is unlawful and goes beyond the framework of the American legal system.”

The statement is likely to further increase tension between Russia and the West amid diplomatic deadlock over Ukraine after sustained pro-Western unrest toppled the pro-Russian Yanukovich. A phone call on Tuesday between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and American counterpart John Kerry achieved little.

“We of course understand that taking in consideration Washington’s position, it is unlikely they will admit the obvious,” the ministry said in a statement. “The American administration will, it seems, continue to close its eyes on the dominance in Kiev of ultra-nationalist forces.

“Those who make decisions in the U.S. should think about the consequences of unconditionally indulging radical elements with their Nazi coloring in Ukraine and the pumping of finances into (the country,” the ministry said.

Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Mark Heinrich