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U.S. House Passes Ukraine Aid Bill

Representative Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee from California, accused Moscow of using propaganda to create confusion and fear in Ukraine.
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation that includes aid for Ukraine and sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea.

The vote on April 1 in the House of Representatives was 378 in support and 34 against.

The Senate passed the bill, which includes $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine, last week.

"With Russian forces massing on Ukraine's borders, tension and fear is spreading throughout the region, and our legislation sends a clear signal -- that Congress will not stand for further violations," said House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York.

The legislation has been sent to President Barack Obama to sign into law.

The White House said Obama welcomed Congress' finalization of a Ukraine assistance package.

Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has warned his country is on the brink of economic and financial bankruptcy.

Ukraine's Finance Ministry has said it needs $35 billion over the next two years to avoid default.

The bill also authorizes $150 million in aid to Ukraine and surrounding countries and requires the U.S. State and Justice Departments to help the Ukrainian government recover assets amassed by corrupt Ukrainian officials.

The legislation supplements sanctions the Obama administration has already levied on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and a Russian bank.

Russia's incursion into Crimea has caused a deep rift between Moscow and Washington.

Broadcast Money

The House of Representatives also passed overwhelmingly another bill to provide additional money to increase broadcasts of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America to eastern Ukraine, including Crimea, to counter pro-Russian broadcasts in the area.

The vote was 399 in support and 12 against for the bill which has already cleared the Senate, and will now head to Obama.

Representative Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, accused Moscow of using propaganda to create confusion and fear in Ukraine.

“Russia’s propaganda machine is in overdrive -- stirring confusion, fear, and unrest in Ukraine. This legislation counters that by providing added accurate news and information by U.S.-backed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America. For decades, this type of broadcasting has been pivotal in helping young and struggling democracies push back against media lies and distortions and get off their feet," Royce said in a written statement.

Quoted earlier by the AP news agency, Royce said Russian forces have seized control of at least a dozen television and radio stations in Crimea that they now use to broadcast misleading reports that Russian speakers in Ukraine have been under attack.

Based on AP and Reuters reporting
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