Treasury Secretary Says Biden Wants Russia Expelled From G20

by | Apr 7, 2022

Treasury Secretary Says Biden Wants Russia Expelled From G20

by | Apr 7, 2022

President Joe Biden wants Russia expelled from the Group of 20 (G20) economic forum, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who said the US would not attend the body’s meetings if Russian officials are present. 

“He’s asked that Russia be removed from the G20, and I’ve made clear to my colleagues in [presidency holder] Indonesia that we will not be participating in a number of meetings if the Russians are there,” she said at a congressional hearing on Wednesday, adding “It cannot be business as usual for Russia in any of the financial institutions.” 

Yellen went on to warn of “enormous economic repercussions” over Moscow’s attack on Ukraine in February, calling to make the country an international pariah.

While the G20 is not involved in Ukraine-Russia diplomacy, the forum has provided opportunities for diplomats to meet on the sidelines of summits, and a number of member states have involved themselves in the conflict with retaliatory sanctions or arms shipments to Kiev.

Asked about the possibility of booting Russia from the group during a March 24 briefing in Brussels, President Biden said he would support the move, but claimed the decision would be up to other member states. 

Formed in 1999 and consisting of 19 nations and the European Union, the G20 was created to allow major economic powers to work together on global issues. Russia’s membership has been controversial given its ongoing military operation in Ukraine and recent allegations of war crimes in the city of Bucha, however. 

It remains unclear exactly how Moscow might be removed from the org, as the G20 lacks a formal mechanism for the expulsion of members. Further, signatories like China have publicly opposed such blacklisting, arguing that no country has the right to force Russia out. 

As of last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin was still reportedly planning to attend the next G20 meeting set for Indonesia later this year, though the Kremlin has suggested that it is not overly concerned about being banished from the group.

“The G20 format is important, but in the current circumstances, when most of the participants are in a state of economic war with us, nothing terrible will happen,” government spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in March.

Yellen’s comments on Wednesday came just before a new round of sanctions on Russia targeting state-owned firms, the latest in a flurry of US penalties in recent weeks. That move also followed a vote in the United Nations to suspend Moscow’s membership in the Human Rights Council due to the war crimes accusations, with Russia declaring that it would leave the body soon after. Suspensions are rare in the council, though the United States previously withdrew in 2018 over alleged bias against Israel, only returning last October.

About Kyle Anzalone and Will Porter

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of Antiwar.com and news editor of the Libertarian Institute. Will Porter is the assistant news editor of the Libertarian Institute and a staff writer and editor at RT. Kyle Anzalone and Will Porter host Conflicts of Interest along with Connor Freeman.

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