01:00 GMT17 January 2021
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    A group of 27 US senators has sent a letter to President-elect Donald Trump urging him to take a tougher approach toward Russia and boost US assistance to Ukraine.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The senators, led by co-chairs of the Senate Ukraine Caucus Dick Durbin and Robert Portman, called for defensive lethal assistance to Ukrainian forces, underscoring that the United States should never accept Russia’s “illegal annexation” of Crimea.

    "In light of Russia’s continued aggression and repeated refusal to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereign right to choose its own destiny, we … renew our call for the United States to increase political, economic and military support for Ukraine," the letter said on Thursday.

    Relations between Russia and the West soured in 2014 after the overwhelming majority of the Crimean population voted in a referendum to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia. The United States and the European Union, who do not recognize the results of the referendum, imposed several rounds of sanctions on both Russia and Crimea.

    Russia has repeatedly denied allegations of involvement in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, warning that the Western sanctions introduced against Moscow over the matter are counterproductive and undermine global stability.


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