Russia protests against US aid for Ukraine military

Russia is criticizing legislation passed by the U.S. Congress authorizing $350 million in military aid to Ukraine and new sanctions against key state-controlled Russian companies.

If President Barack Obama signs into law the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, the United States will provide Ukraine with anti-tank and armor-piercing weapons, counterartillery radars, tactical troop-operated surveillance drones, communications equipment and ammunition.

The bill, which was passed unanimously late Thursday by both houses of Congress, also authorizes the Obama administration to impose new sanctions on Russia’s state arms exporter Rosobornexport and state-controlled natural gas producer Gazprom.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Friday that the passage of the act was a source of “deep regret” due to the legislation’s “openly confrontational character.”

It accused the United States of again making “unfounded accusations” against Russia, adding that Russia would not succumb to “blackmail,” compromise its national interests or permit interference in its internal affairs.

The bill’s co-author, Republican Senator Bob Corker from Tennessee, said the unanimous passage of the bill demonstrated what he called a “firm commitment to Ukrainian sovereignty.” He said in a statement that Russian President Vladimir Putin must pay for what he called “an assault on freedom and security in Europe.”

Russia seized control of the Crimea region from Ukraine earlier this year and is widely accused of giving military support to pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.


(Photo of Russian foreign ministry: Shakko1)