Yellen to see Ukraine PM, avoid Russians at global meetings

AP , Monday 18 Apr 2022

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen plans to meet with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal during this week's big meetings of global economic leaders in Washington, but she'll be trying to avoid most contact with Russian officials who plan to attend some portions of the event virtually.

 Janet Yellen
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks to the Atlantic Council, on April 13, 2022, in Washington. AP

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, and how world powers should manage the spillover effects on economies, including food insecurity, will take center stage at the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

This year's meetings run through Friday and include a mix of virtual and in-person events.

Russian finance officials are expected to attend several events virtually, according to a senior Treasury official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview plans for the meetings.

Yellen will participate if a Russian minister is there for a session or two, but will not attend every session, the official said, adding that the presence of Russian officials should not stop the work the US needs to do in the working with members of the Group of 20.

Yellen is expected to use this week's meetings to work with allies on efforts to increase economic pressure on Russia while mitigating spillover effects, to call for the implementation of a global minimum tax deal, and to address food security issues.

In addition, the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control this week is expected to issue clarifying language to make clear that trade in agricultural products is not barred under existing sanctions, in response to the food security crisis that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused.

Roughly 155 million people in 55 countries faced acute hunger in 2020, an increase of 20 million people from the year before, according to the World Food Program.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo is also set to meet with Ukraine's Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko this week.

The US and its allies have used sanctions to weaponize the global economy against Russia over its war in Ukraine. There aren't any countries yet subverting the sanctions, but there are fears among the allies that China, which has criticized the Western effort, could do so, Yellen said in a speech at the Atlantic Council last week.

Also of concern is India, which has taken a neutral stance on the Russia-Ukraine war and recently made a major purchase of Russian oil, a source of tension as the US tries to cut off Moscow's energy income.

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