Flags of Ukraine (R) and of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk fly on a water tower in the city of Krasny Partizan near Donetsk on December 13, 2014. AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOV
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The US Congress on Saturday unanimously approved fresh economic sanctions against Russia and lethal weapons for Kiev, defying President Barack Obama and hardening American lawmakers' response to a Kremlin-backed insurgency in Ukraine.Identical texts of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act passed both the Senate and House of Representatives on Thursday, but because of a technical issue it returned to the Senate where it passed by unanimous consent moments before the chamber adjourned late Saturday night. Washington backs Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, but Obama has yet to approve the bulk of an arms request by Kiev.It also gives Obama authority to penalize Russian gas giant Gazprom if it is found to be withholding significant natural gas supplies from NATO states, or Ukraine, Georgia, or Moldova.
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