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Russia Warns US on Bill Authorizing Military Weapons to Ukraine

Russia Warns US on Bill Authorizing Military Weapons to Ukraine

Predator Reaper UAV drone
Predator Reaper UAV (drone)

Russia says there will be repercussions if Washington imposes new sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

Deputy Foreign Secretary Sergei Ryabkov over the weekend blamed “anti-Russian moods” in Washington for the new bill authorizing lethal military aid to Kyiv and deeper sanctions against Russia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement last week the legislation, known as the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, had an “openly confrontational nature” and amounted to “blackmail.”

The ministry said the bill will cause “deep regret” and destroy chances for any joint efforts to end the Ukraine crisis.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is expected to discuss the matter with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry when they meet today in Rome.

The bill, passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate, authorizes $350 million in military hardware and munitions to Ukraine, and new sanctions against high-profile Russian exporters. The equipmentreportedly includes anti-tank and anti-armour weapons, radar, surveillance drones and communications gear.

Kyiv and Western governments accuse Moscow of supplying direct aid to pro-Russian rebels seeking autonomy in Ukraine’s east. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the charges and says that Russian soldiers seen fighting alongside rebels are doing so as volunteers.

As the latest political drama played out in Washington and Moscow, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said a fragile cease-fire between government forces and Russia-backed rebels appeared to be holding.

Poroshenko, speaking early Friday, said 24 hours had passed without any deaths or injuries in Ukraine’s war-torn east.

The Ukrainian leader pleaded with Russia to close its border with Ukraine, saying there would be “peace and stability” in his country within weeks if Moscow did so.