US to forgo some G-20 meetings over opposition to Russian invasion

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen answers questions during a House Financial Services Committee oversight hearing of the Treasury Department's and Federal Reserve's Pandemic Response on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.
Greg Nash

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will be forgoing some of the Group of 20 (G-20) meetings this week over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a U.S. Treasury official confirmed to The Hill.

“Both Secretary Yellen and President Biden have made clear that it can’t be business as usual for Russia in the global economy, and that includes within global financial institutions and our meetings,” the official said. 

“The President asked for Russia to be removed from the G20, and Secretary Yellen – as she said last week – has made clear that she won’t be participating a number of the G20 meeting sessions at Bank Fund if the Russians are participants.”

According to a source familiar, the meetings that Yellen will be not be attending include ones on sustainable finance and international financial architecture. No nations from the Group of Seven (G-7) are boycotting the full G-20 gathering.

There are other meetings that Yellen will participate in, including the opening ceremony, which will also include the Ukrainian finance minister as a show of solidarity for Ukraine, the Treasury official told The Hill.

“While Secretary Yellen and our partners will continue to work in solidarity to advance the important business of the G20, she will also voice our strong condemnation of Putin’s brutality and make it clear that the benefits and privileges of the leading economic institutions of the world – which we helped create after WW2 – are reserved for countries that demonstrate respect for the core principles that underpin peace and security across the world,” the Treasury official added.

The Washington Post was the first to report the news of Yellen’s boycott.

During a House briefing earlier this month, Yellen warned the United States would not participate in the G-20 meetings if Russia was also there, noting that President Biden had called for Russia to be removed from the G-20.

“So, President Biden’s made it clear, and I certainly agree with him, that it cannot be business as usual in any — for Russia in any of the financial institutions,” Yellen said during a House hearing.

“He’s asked that Russia be removed from the G-20,” Yellen said in response to a question at the hearing, adding, “And I’ve made clear to my colleagues in Indonesia that we will not be participating in a number of meetings if the Russians are there.”

The Russian invasion in Ukraine, more than 50 days in, has been widely condemned by countries around the world, leading Russian elites, banks, sectors of its economy and imports to be sanctioned internationally.

Updated at 3:06 p.m.

Tags G-20 Group of 20 Janet Yellen Janet Yellen Joe Biden Russia-Ukraine conflict Treasury

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