Yellen and Ukraine official walk out of Russia’s G-20 remarks

A seated woman talks and gestures with her right hand.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks to the Atlantic Council on April 13 in Washington.
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen and Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko walked out of a Group of 20 meeting Wednesday as Russia’s representative started talking.

Several finance ministers and central bank governors also left the room, said an official familiar with the meetings, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the event was not public. Some ministers and central bank governors who attended the meeting virtually turned their cameras off when the Russian representative spoke, the person said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said of Yellen’s walkout: “Certainly we support her steps, and it’s an indication of the fact that President [Vladimir] Putin and Russia has become a pariah on the global stage.”


The incident came amid the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings, in which finance leaders try to tackle the world’s most pressing issues. The brutal effects of Russia’s war against Ukraine have taken center stage, and Treasury Department officials said this week that Yellen would try to avoid contact with Russians who plan to attend some G-20 virtually.

President Biden has said that Russia should not remain a member of the G-20, an international body of the world’s biggest economies that promotes economic cooperation among countries. Indonesia is the host country for the G-20 summit in November.

Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Indonesia’s finance minister, when asked about Russia’s participation in the G-20 and about the walkout, said the multilateral forum is a place to “express the views of all members and invitees.”

Psaki reiterated the administration’s position that “we can’t have business as usual” at the G-20 and other international forums when it comes to Russia.