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G20: Russia sanctions having 'significant' effect — Yellen

February 23, 2023

The US treasury secretary has said Russia is battling to replenish ammunition and repair tanks because of sanctions. Janet Yellen made the comments ahead of G20 talks in India.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a press conference at the G20 financial conclave in Bengaluru, India
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reiterated Washington's warnings about the consequences of violating Russian sanctions ahead of G20 talksImage: Aijaz Rahi/AP Photo/picture alliance

Finance chiefs and central bank governors from the world's largest economies gathered in Bengaluru, India on Thursday for a three days of meetings.

The Group of 7 (G7) held talks on Thursday ahead of further Group of 20 (G20) deliberations on Friday and Saturday.

The host of the summits — India — currently holds the year-long rotating presidency of the G20 bloc.

While delegates are expected to discuss the economic effects of the war in Ukraine and possible debt relief for poorer nations, Russian sanctions and US tensions with China have already taken center stage.

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Yellen comments on Russia sanctions

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said ahead of talks, that sanctions imposed on Russia since it launched its invasion of Ukraine, were impacting Moscow significantly.

"The way I see it, our sanctions have had a very significant negative effect on Russia so far. While by some measures the Russian economy has held up better than might initially have been expected, Russia is now running a significant budget deficit," Yellen said ahead of talks.

Yellen went on to say that sanctions and export controls were making it "extremely difficult" for Russia to replenish ammunition stocks and "repair 9,000 tanks that have been destroyed because of the war."

The US treasury secretary said despite President Vladimir Putin thinking victory would come "at minimal cost ... One year later Putin's war has been a strategic failure for the Kremlin."

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China warned about violating sanctions

Yellen also addressed tense relations with China, saying that Washington and Beijing would resume dialog on economic matters "at an appropriate time."

Yellen told reporters that communication between the two countries was important for "the sake of the entire globe."

However, she warned there would be consequences should Russian sanctions be violated.

"We have made clear that providing material support to Russia or assistance with any type of systemic sanctions evasion would be a very serious concern to us," she said.

"And we will certainly continue to make clear to the Chinese government and to companies and banks in their jurisdictions what the rules are regarding our sanctions and the serious consequences that they would face in violating them," Yellen said

The comments on China come after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told US media over the weekend, that Washington had information that Beijing was considering providing "lethal support" to Moscow.

Blinken said that this was something that would cause "a very serious problem for us and our relationship."

China on Monday condemned claims by the US, saying that it was Washington who was "endlessly shipping weapons to the battlefield," in an apparent reference to the US providing weapons to Ukraine. 

kb/rt (Reuters, AFP)