Yellen to meet Ukrainian PM and avoid Russians at global meetings

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FILE – Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen addresses the Atlantic Council, April 13, 2022, in Washington. Yellen plans to meet Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal at this week’s spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington. At the same time, she will try to avoid contact with Russian officials who plan to attend parts of the Group of 20 event. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen plans to meet Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal at major meetings of world economic leaders this week in Washington – but she will try to avoid most contact with Russian officials who plan to attend virtually certain parts of the event.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and how world powers should handle the fallout on economies, including food insecurity – will take center stage at the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the Bank. world.

On Tuesday, Yellen will convene a panel of finance ministers, international development banks and other institutions to discuss how they will use resources to tackle food insecurity.

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 condition of anonymity to preview plans for the meetings.

Yellen will attend if a Russian minister is there for a session or two, but will not attend all sessions, the official said, adding that the presence of Russian officials should not stop the work the United States needs to do with it. members of the Group of 20. — the largest economies in the world.

There are certain sessions that the secretary will attend – including the opening, which the Ukrainian finance minister will also attend. However, she will not participate in a number of G20 sessions if the Russians attend.

President Joe Biden has said Russia should be removed from the G20.

Yellen is expected to use meetings this week to work with his allies on efforts to increase economic pressure on Russia while mitigating the ripple effects, to call for the implementation of a global minimum tax agreement and to solve food security problems.

In addition, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is expected to issue clarifying language this week to clarify that trade in agricultural products is not prohibited by existing sanctions, in response to the food security crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

About 155 million people in 55 countries faced acute hunger in 2020, an increase of 20 million people from the previous year, according to the World Food Programme.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo is also due to meet Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko this week.

During a Monday discussion at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Adeyemo reiterated the US position that China has a chance to pressure Russia to end its invasion of Ukraine and thereby avoid subject to secondary sanctions.

“China has in the past, and we expect it to continue to follow, the sanctions regimes that we and the coalition” of sanctioning countries have introduced, Adeyemo said.

“China’s business with the rest of the world is more important than its business with Russia.”

The United States and its allies have used sanctions to militarize the global economy against Russia because of its war in Ukraine. No country has yet overturned the sanctions, but allies fear China, which has criticized the Western effort, may do so, Yellen said in a speech to the Atlantic Council last week.

Also of concern is India, which has taken a neutral stance on the Russian-Ukrainian war and recently made a major purchase of Russian oil, a source of tension like the United States. attempts to cut Moscow’s energy revenues.

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Associated Press writer Aamer Madhani contributed to this report.