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Trump administration reinstates military aid for Ukraine, senators say

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s administration has released $250 million (£202.8 million) in military aid for Ukraine, U.S. senators said on Thursday, after lawmakers from both parties expressed anger that the White House had held up money approved by Congress.

Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Appropriations Committee said the White House released the money on Wednesday night, hours before the panel was due to debate an amendment to a defence spending bill that would have prevented Trump from such actions in the future.

It was one of several disputes recently between Trump and members of Congress, some of his fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, over his administration’s decision to sidestep congressional approval to fund its own policy initiatives.

A few Republicans, as well as Democrats, had said they expected Congress would pass legislation to reinstate the aid for Ukraine if the administration had not released the money.

The money is intended for use by Ukraine in its struggle with pro-Russian separatists backed by Moscow. Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014.

The White House has sought repeatedly to slash foreign aid since Trump took office in January 2017, but Congress has pushed back repeatedly against such plans.

The White House Office of Management and Budget did not respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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