5 May, 11:17

US Republicans press for $100 mln in military aid to Kiev

US Republicans press for $100 mln in military aid to Kiev

Senator John McCain told Ukraine’s Intern TV channel on Sunday that a group of Republican senators, a "very large one", would introduce a $100 million military aid bill soon, adding that he hoped Congress would support it. But this will take time, the senator said.

In the meantime, the senators will do their best to convince President Barack Obama to approve military aid for Ukraine. A number of high-ranking US officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, have visited Ukraine in the past couple of months.

Recently, the Germany’s Bild newspaper reported that dozens of US officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were consulting the new Kiev government in its crackdown on federalization supporters in southeast Ukraine.

The FBI and CIA agents are in Kiev on a special mission to help the Ukrainian authorities quell the unrest in the southeast and create effective law enforcement bodies. They are not directly involved in clashes with pro-federalization rebels, the newspaper says. FBI experts are also helping Ukrainian investigators track down the assets of Viktor Yanykovych who insists that he remains Ukraine’s legitimate President.

Earlier, the US State Department announced that the FBI would assist its Ukrainian colleagues in probing fraud cases and collecting evidence needed to return the money that had been illegally taken out of the country.

In the middle of last month, CIA Director John Brennan arrived in Kiev on a top secret visit that Washington initially denied. The following day, Verkhovna Rada interim Speaker Alexander Turchynov announced a large-scale counter-terrorist operation in Ukraine’s southeast.

Russia repeatedly accused the United States of interfering in Ukraine’s internal affairs. Washington, for its part, openly pledged support to Maidan nationalists and welcomed the February coup in Kiev and the interim government which toppled President Viktor Yanukovych.

The Russian Foreign Ministry is concerned that mercenaries from private US security companies could be operating in Ukraine. Washington denies this.

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