Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Friday criticized Moscow during a meeting that included a top Russian minister and other officials from the Group of 20 (G-20) nations on Friday, asserting that Russian officials shared “responsibility for the innocent lives lost” in “Russia’s brutal and unjust war,” according to a Treasury official.
“I condemn Russia’s brutal and unjust war in the strongest possible terms. Russia’s war defies the G-20’s spirit of cooperation and has set back our efforts to ‘recover together, recover stronger,’” the Treasury secretary said during an opening session of the G-20 in Bali, Indonesia, according to the official.
“Russia’s officials, including those participating in this session, should recognize that they are adding to the horrific consequences of this war through their continued support of the Putin regime,” she reportedly noted. “You share responsibility for the innocent lives lost and the ongoing human and economic toll that the war is causing around the world.”
Russian Deputy Finance Minister Timur Maksimov was present at the closed-door meeting on Friday, according to a source familiar, who also confirmed that the top Russian official was still in the room when Yellen made her remarks.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov was virtually present for the meeting, the source familiar said.
A Western official who spoke with The Washington Post noted that Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland offered a similar sentiment to Russian officials during the meeting.
“It is not only generals who commit war crimes; it is the economic technocrats who allow the war to happen and to continue,” she said, the Post reported, citing the Western official.
It is not the first time that Yellen has taken action during scheduled G-20 meetings to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A U.S. Treasury official confirmed to The Hill in April that Yellen would be skipping some G-20 meetings in protest of the international conflict.