Yellen says new $500M is ‘only the beginning’ of Ukraine aid

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is providing an additional $500 million in financial assistance to Ukraine to help the beleaguered country sustain salaries, pensions and other government programs while it fends off Russia’s invasion.

“We plan to deploy this direct aid to Ukraine as soon as possible, to be used on the most urgent needs,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday. “We know this is only the beginning of what Ukraine will need to rebuild.”

The new funding adds to the $500 million of economic aid President Joe Biden revealed in March.

Before the announcement, Yellen met Denys shmyhal, Ukraine’s prime minister, and Wally Adeyemo, Treasury Deputy Secretary, and Serhiy Marchenko from Ukraine as well as Wally Adeyemo, Treasury Deputy Secretary, and Serhiy Marchenko. The announcement comes against the backdrop of International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings dominated by conversations over how to manage the spillover from Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The Treasury Department on Wednesday imposed new sanctions against Russia. The sanctions package includes penalties against more than 40 individuals and entities that are accused of evading sanctions. The first sanctions against a cryptocurrency mining business are in relation to war.

Yellen said Thursday that the U.S. was continuing to “tighten the vise of our economic pressure campaign.”

When asked if European allies should ban Russian oil and gasoline imports, she responded cautiously. This was a frequent issue during the war in Ukraine.

“Europe clearly needs to reduce its dependence on Russia in respect to energy. But we need to be careful,” Yellen said, pointing out there would be a resulting rise in oil prices worldwide. In this scenario, she stated that Russia could still be financially beneficial even if its European sales decline.

On Wednesday, Yellen and Ukraine’s finance minister walked out of a Group of 20 meeting as Russia’s representative started talking.

According to an official familiar, there were also several other central bank governors as well as finance ministers who left the room. This was because the meeting was not public.

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