Major finance officials from the United States, Canada as well as the United Kingdom have stepped out of a meeting of the Group of 20 major economies (G20) in protest of Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.
Britain’s Finance Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday said that British, US and Canadian officials left the G20 meeting in Washington DC as Russian delegates spoke.
Sunak tweeted, “We are together in our condemnation of Russia’s war against Ukraine and will push for stronger international coordination to punish Russia.”
Ukrainian officials in attendance also stepped out of the meeting of top finance officials from the world’s 20 largest economies, a source familiar with the meeting said.
The incident sparked amid the International Monetary Fund & World Bank spring meetings, in which finance heads gather to attack the world’s most pressing issues.
The harsh impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine, which started in late February & this week has shifted to the nation’s eastern Donbas region, has taken centre stage.
Earlier this week, US Treasury officials stated that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen would attempt to avoid contact with Russian officials who plan to attend some G20 events virtually.
The President of the United States has said that Russia should not remain a member of the G20, a position mentioned by the Finance Minister of Canada and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who walked out of Wednesday’s meeting.
She mentioned in a tweet that, “This week’s meetings in Washington are about supporting the world economy, and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is a grave threat to the global economy. Russia should not be participating or included in these meetings.”
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Jen Psaki has expressed support for the walkout, saying it was “a sign of the fact that President Putin and Russia have become a pariah on the global stage.”
The US President and Secretary Yellen have both said we cannot have business as usual at the G20 or in a lot of these international forums as it relates to Russia,” Psaki said.
Russia’s finance ministry had not mentioned the walkout in a statement issued following the meeting, but cited Siluanov as calling on the G20 not to politicise dialogue between members & stressing the grouping had always focused on the economy.