Apr 20, 2022 - Economy

Yellen, Powell walk out of G20 meeting during Russian minister's speech

Picture of Janet Yellen

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell walked out of a G20 meeting on Wednesday when the Russian finance minister, Anton Siluanov, started speaking, according to a source familiar with the matter.

State of play: Yellen and Powell were joined by other world leaders, including European Central Bank head Christine Lagarde, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Ukraine's finance minister, Serhiy Marchenko.

  • Siluanov was participating in the meeting virtually. Some finance ministers and central bank governors who were also in the meeting virtually turned their cameras off when Russia spoke, per a source familiar with the meeting.

The Treasury Department has been vague all week about Yellen’s plans for participation in the G20 given Russia’s involvement. Wednesday's walkout appears to be a carefully planned dramatic statement.

The big picture: As Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine continues, the walkout shows how increasingly isolated the country is becoming.

Between the lines: Following the walkout, the Treasury Department unveiled a new round of sanctions against Russia.

  • Those affected include a commercial bank which has offered services to banks in China and the Middle East, and has suggested options to evade international sanctions, per the Treasury.
  • Additionally, the U.S. is sanctioning "more than 40 individuals and entities led by U.S.-designated Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev, including organizations whose primary mission is to facilitate sanctions evasion for Russian entities."

Go deeper: Yellen: Don't help Russia evade sanctions, or else

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout.

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