The Washington Post

Congressional support builds for $1 billion Ukraine aid package

Updated 10:58 a.m.

A senior lawmaker expected to help steer a Ukrainian aid package through Congress said Tuesday that the Obama administration's pledge of $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees for Ukraine’s new anti-Russian leadership is “welcome news.”

Orthodox monks pray next to soldiers in Balaclava. (Baz Ratner/Reuters)

"The time to act is now," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said in a statement shortly after Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced plans for the aid package in Kiev. "We must place crippling sanctions on Russian high-ranking officials, state-owned banks and commercial enterprises, and key individuals behind the Russian intervention. Only by forcing Putin to reverse aggression and by supporting Ukraine in this time of national crisis can we hope to restore peace in the region."

Royce and senior members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced plans late Monday for a loan package and possible sanctions against unnamed Russian officials. The Senate panel is expected to formally debate the package during a markup next week.

Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate panel who visited Ukraine in December to meet with opposition figures, said that a proposal combining aid to Ukraine with sanctions against Russian officials "will enjoy broad Democratic and Republican support on the committee."

Murphy said world powers should be working to assemble a major economic aid package of $15 billion to $20 billion for the new Ukrainian government, with most of the support coming through the International Monetary Fund. Sanctions should be reach across as much of Russian society as possible, he said.

"We need to send a clear message to every facet of Russian society that if you take part in this illegal extraterritorial activity, your entire country will suffer consequences," Murphy said, adding later: "Ultimately, I'm not sure that Russia will pay attention if we simply provide visa sanctions on a handful of government officials that have ordered this march on Ukraine."

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.
Next Story
Aaron Blake · March 4, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.