WATCH: Treasury Secretary Yellen announces additional financial support for Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is providing an additional $500 million in financial assistance to Ukraine to help the beleaguered country maintain salaries, pensions and other government programs while repelling the Russian invasion.

Watch Yellen’s remarks in the player above.

“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 just the beginning of what Ukraine will have to rebuild.”

The new funding is on top of the $500 million in economic relief that President Joe Biden unveiled in March.

Yellen met before the announcement with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, as well as Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo and Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko. The announcement comes amid spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank dominated by conversations about how to handle the fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The Treasury Department on Wednesday imposed a new wave of sanctions against Russia. The sanctions package includes sanctions imposed on more than 40 individuals and entities accused of evading sanctions. The sanctions include the first set of sanctions against a cryptocurrency mining company in connection with the war.

Yellen said Thursday that the United States continues to “tighten the noose of our economic pressure campaign.”

She responded cautiously to the question of whether European allies should ban imports of Russian oil and gas, a recurring issue during the war in Ukraine.

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“Europe must clearly reduce its energy dependence on Russia. But we have to be careful,” Yellen said, noting that this would result in higher oil prices around the world. In this situation, she said, Russia could still benefit financially even if its sales in Europe decline.

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

Several other finance ministers and central bank governors also left the room, according to an official familiar with the meetings, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the event was not public.

Some ministers and central bank governors who attended the meeting all but turned off their cameras when Russian President Vladimir Putin’s representative spoke, the person said.

“It just can’t be business as usual for Russia in terms of participation in our global forums,” Yellen said.

Yellen, however, was evasive on proposals to withdraw Russia from the G-20, which is made up of representatives from industrial countries and emerging markets.

“We will look for a way to make our disapproval known while acknowledging that we have a lot of work to do,” she said.

The Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group take place every year, as finance leaders come together to tackle the world’s most pressing issues.

Yellen said she was talking to her counterparts about ensuring an adequate food supply around the world and preparing for the possibility of new pandemics in the future.

“COVID-19,” she said, “will not be our last global health emergency.”

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