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House condemns Russian military action in Ukraine as aid stalls

WASHINGTON -- The House overwhelmingly agreed Tuesday to condemn Russian military action in Ukraine, a vote that provided more symbolism than substance as Congress continues to wrestle over its response to the crisis in Crimea.

The resolution won bipartisan backing on the eve of Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk's visit to the capital, where he is expected to meet with House and Senate leaders Wednesday, and hold talks with President Obama at the White House.

Yet Congress has struggled to provide a more substantive package of $1 billion in loan guarantees for the new Ukrainian government, or slap additional sanctions on Russia beyond those imposed last week by the White House.

The House-passed loan package has slowed in the Senate as Democrats consider attaching separate funding for the International Monetary Fund that many Republicans resist.

Administration officials provided a classified briefing for House lawmakers Tuesday evening, and legislators emerged with the understanding that additional economic sanctions could be imposed by the U.S. and its allies if Russia does not de-escalate the situation.

Until then, the House can at least say it has condemned the crisis thanks to Tuesday's resolution, which was approved 402-7. A similar bipartisan measure is expected to come to a vote in the Senate.

"This resolution is a strong show of support," said Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. "We will support the people of Ukraine as they try to build a legitimate country."

lisa.mascaro@latimes.com

Twitter: @lisamascaroinDC

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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