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New Ukraine PM Yatsenyuk hits White House, Capitol Hill

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WASHINGTON — Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk hits the White House and Capitol Hill on Wednesday, as Congress works on measures to prop up the Ukraine economy and sanction Russia for sending troops to Crimea. The meetings come as the U.S. and its allies are scrambling in advance of a Sunday vote called by the pro-Russian Crimea leaders to opt out of Ukraine and join Russia.

In the afternoon, Yatsenyuk meets with Secretary of State John Kerry, who huddled with him when he was in Kiev last week. After that, Yatsenyuk has meetings scheduled with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

In the early evening, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Robert Menendez D-N.J. and committee members meet with Yatsenyuk. He will be part of a press conference with Speaker John Boehner R-Ohio and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi D-Calif.

The Menendez panel plans a vote this afternoon on sanctions against Russia for the Ukraine invasion and to structure $1 billion in loan guarantees for the Yatsenyuk government. The controversial part of this package–which has raised some GOP opposition–is over boosting the lending power of the International Monetary Fund. The House passed legislation for economic assistance to Ukraine last wee–without the IMF provisions. On Tuesday, the House passed a resolution imposing sanctions on Russia.