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BENGALURU: US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stepped up calls on Thursday for increased financial support for Ukraine to help it battle the year-old Russian invasion as the United States readies an additional $10 billion in economic assistance.

Yellen, speaking at a news conference in India on the eve of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion, said it was critical for the International Monetary Fund to “move swiftly” towards a fully financed loan programme for Ukraine.

“As President Biden has said, we will stand with Ukraine in its fight – for as long as it takes,” she said. “Continued, robust support for Ukraine will be a major topic of discussion during my time here in India.”

Yellen is to join other finance ministers and heads of central banks from the Group of 20 nations on Friday for a meeting at a resort near the tech hub of Bengaluru. It is the first major meeting of India’s year-long presidency of the bloc, which includes wealthy G7 democracies as well as Russia, China, Brazil and Saudi Arabia.

In a joint statement, the G7 finance ministers said the bloc hoped Ukraine and the IMF could agree on a loan programme by March, adding that they had increased financial aid for Ukraine for this year to $39 billion. German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said his country was already supporting Ukraine and now other nations had to do their part.

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