© . FILE PHOTO: Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey speaks at a press conference at Bank of England in London, UK Feb. 3, 2022. Dan Kitwood/Pool via REUTERS
By Andrea Shalal, David Lawder and David Milliken WASHINGTON/LONDON () – Top officials from Britain, the United States and Canada walked out at a meeting of the group of 20 Russian representatives on Wednesday, and many members spoke about Moscow’s war to condemn Ukraine. to expose deep divisions in the bloc of major economies. Indonesia’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, who chaired the G20 financial officials meeting in Washington, acknowledged that the body was facing unprecedented challenges, but called for cooperation to overcome the headwinds that slowed global growth. “This is an extraordinary situation,” Indrawati told reporters after the day-long meeting. “It’s not business as usual, a very dynamic and challenging one.” The G20 includes Western countries that have accused Moscow of war crimes in Ukraine, as well as China, India, Indonesia and South Africa that have not joined the Western-led sanctions against Russia over the conflict. Indrawati said many countries spoke out against the war at the meeting, although she did not identify them. “In order to recover together…we need more and even stronger cooperation,” Indrawati told a briefing. “The G20 is still the main forum where we can all discuss and talk about all the issues.” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told attendees she strongly disapproved of the presence of a senior Russian official at the meeting before leaving, two sources told . She was joined by Fed Chair Jerome Powell, Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, Canadian Treasury Secretary Chrystia Freeland and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde. Ukrainian officials, who were seeking billions of dollars in additional funding in Washington, also left the meeting, a source familiar with the meeting said. Russian Deputy Finance Minister Timur Maksimov personally represented Moscow, while Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and Russia’s central bank governor joined virtually, a second source said. More than five million Ukrainians have fled abroad since Russia invaded on February 24, the biggest attack on a European state since 1945. The United States accuses Russia of committing war crimes in what Moscow calls a “special military operation.” Russia denies the charges. NO ‘BUSINESS AS USUAL’ A source added that Yellen told participants there could be “no business-as-usual” for Russia in the global economy, a view shared by Indrawati, whose government heads this year. state of the G20 group. Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said in a tweet: “We are united in our condemnation of Russia’s war against Ukraine and will push for stronger international coordination to punish Russia.” Russia’s finance ministry made no mention of the strike in a statement issued after the meeting. It cited Siluanov calling on the G20 not to politicize dialogue between members and stressed that the group had always focused on the economy. He also complained about the damaging effect of Western sanctions, the statement said. “Another aspect of the current crisis is the undermining of confidence in the existing international monetary and financial system,” it said. “The security of international reserves and the possibility of free trade and financial transactions are no longer guaranteed.” Lagarde urged Maksimov to send a clear message to Moscow – to end the war in Ukraine, one of the sources said. G20 finance ministers and central bank governors met on the sidelines of a biannual conference of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Washington, where the war in Ukraine, food security and the ongoing recovery of the coronavirus pandemic were the main topics. Due to the division, the group has not issued a communiqué. Instead, Indrawati read a statement that summarized the meeting and underlined the importance of the body. Freeland, who is of Ukrainian descent and has made impassioned pleas on behalf of the country, said she was leaving a G20 plenary to protest Russia’s participation. “This week’s meetings in Washington are about supporting the global economy — and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is a serious threat to the global economy,” she said on Twitter (NYSE:), adding that Russia should not participate. . FRAGMENTATION OF FEARS IMF director Kristalina Georgieva admitted on Wednesday that it was a “difficult moment” for the G20, a forum that has played a key role in coordinating the fight against COVID-19 and in responding to the 2008-2009 financial crisis . But she said the collaboration would continue through the forum. “There are clearly very, very disturbing facts that we are dealing with,” said Georgieva, a Bulgarian. “But we also recognize how interdependent we are… And it goes without saying that the collaboration must and will continue.” Georgieva and Yellen have warned of a fragmentation of the global economy into geopolitical blocs, with the United States and market-driven democracies on the one hand and China, Russia and other state-driven economies on the other.