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Published: Tuesday March 4, 2014 MYT 7:20:02 AM
Updated: Tuesday March 4, 2014 MYT 7:20:02 AM

U.S. Senate committee consulting on sanctions against Russians

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee is preparing legislation to provide support to Ukraine and consulting with the Obama administration on possible sanctions against individual Russians, and Ukrainians cooperating with them, the committee's chairman said on Monday.

"Russia's military intervention in Ukraine constitutes a clear violation of international law and demands a swift and coordinated response from the international community to support the Ukraine and counter Russian efforts to annex Ukrainian territory by force," Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, said in a statement.

The Senate panel is developing a legislative package, supported by both Democrats and Republicans, to authorize funds to provide at least $1 billion in loan guarantees to provide structural support to Ukraine's economy, Menendez said.

It would also authorize technical assistance for energy reforms and to provide election support, strengthen civil society, fight corruption and help Ukraine recover stolen assets.

Menendez said the committee was also consulting with President Barack Obama's administration on possible sanctions against individuals ranging from visa bans and asset freezes to suspending military cooperation and sales, as well as economic sanctions.

William Burns, a deputy secretary of state, is due to testify before the foreign relations committee on Thursday and is expected to provide an assessment of the situation in Ukraine, Menendez said.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Peter Cooney and Jim Loney)

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