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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen leads US walkout after Russian officials begin speaking at G-20 meeting

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APRIL 20, 2022

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. – Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen led a walkout of a G-20 economic meeting.
  • Yellen, Fed Chair Jerome Powell, and other global economic leaders left when Russian officials spoke.
  • The coordinated action underlines Russia’s increasing isolation as it continues its war in Ukraine.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell joined top economic leaders from around the world in walking out of a G-20 meeting on Wednesday after Russian officials began speaking, underlining the increasing isolation the Kremlin faces as Russia continues its war in Ukraine.

The news of the walkout was initially reported by  The Washington Post.

A source familiar told Insider that multiple finance ministers and central bank governors “walked out when Russia started talking at the G20 meeting.”

“Some finance ministers and central bank governors who were virtual turned their cameras off when Russia spoke,” the source added.

Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who joined the walkout, wrote on Twitter that “the world’s democracies will not stand idly by in the face of continued Russian aggression and war crimes.”

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Moscow’s top economic official attended the conference remotely. The US sanctioned Siluanov earlier this month. Ukrainian officials addressed the gathering before the Russians started speaking.

The coordinated action was in the works before the meeting began, Reuters previously reported. An unnamed US official told the outlet that Yellen planned to avoid most sessions attended by Russian officials. An unnamed British official also said that British finance minister Rishi Sunak would also not attend some sessions.

The G-20 was founded in 1999 as a way for top finance officials and central bank leaders from the world’s largest economies to meet to coordinate policy. The group later expanded to include heads of state. The smaller G-7 started in the 1970s amid global energy concerns and a recession. It grew to be known as the G-8 when Russia later joined in 1998, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, but its membership was suspended in 2014 following its annexation of Crimea and the exclusive club again became known as the G-7.

President Joe Biden and other Western leaders have called for Russia to be kicked out of the G-20 following its unprovoked war in Ukraine. The US and many of the G-20 nations have also responded by enacting severe sanctions on Russia. Biden has made clear that the US hopes to devastate the Russian economy.

Insider has reached out to the Treasury Department for comment on the walkout.


Courtesy/Source: Business Insider

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