Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will only attend part of the upcoming meeting of the Group of 20 finance chiefs in Washington, the U.S. government said Monday, in a show of protest against Russia as it appears to be seeking to join the talks virtually despite tension over its war in Ukraine.
President Joe Biden said in March that Russia should be removed from the G-20 in the wake of the invasion, and Yellen recently said the United States is poised to boycott some G-20 meetings should Russian officials turn up.
Noting that Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov may attend virtually for at least some of the sessions of Wednesday’s G-20 gathering, a senior U.S. official said, “We’ve made it very well known to everybody that the G-20 cannot be ‘business as usual’ given Russia’s actions in Ukraine and the impact on the global economy.”
Although the United States believes it would be more appropriate for Russia not to participate in the G-20, Yellen will nonetheless attend some of the sessions, particularly the ones focused on the global macroeconomic situation and the fallout from the war in Ukraine.
“We don’t want the presence of a Russian official to stop the work that the United States and our partners need to do in the context of the G-20. So she will be participating even if the Russian minister is there for a session or two, but she will not be participating in all of the sessions,” the official said.
The gathering of the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors will take place on the sidelines of the weeklong spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in the U.S. capital through Sunday.
The Wednesday gathering has gained attention as the first G-20 ministerial talks to be held since Russia began its invasion on Feb. 24. The attack has led the United States, the European Union and other U.S. allies such as Japan to impose economic sanctions against Moscow.
The G-20 groups Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
A meeting of the finance chiefs from the Group of Seven industrialized nations, all of which are part of the G-20, will also be held on Wednesday, with Yellen planning to attend, according to the Treasury Department.
Throughout the week, she will meet bilaterally with her counterparts, including Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki, the department said.
Yellen also plans to hold a bilateral meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, on a date yet to be announced, to underscore Washington’s resolve to hold Russia accountable for its aggression and provide Kyiv with necessary aid.