US Wants Tougher Sanctions

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has called for stronger and more effectively enforced sanctions against Russia and additional support for Ukraine during her meetings with the Group of 20 (G20) leading economies in Bengaluru. Speaking on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Yellen stated that while the current sanctions against Moscow were working, more needed to be done to hamper the Russian war effort and provide support to Ukraine.

During her press briefing, Yellen emphasized the need to reinforce sanctions against Russia and address any violations of existing sanctions. She revealed that the US has deprived Russia of many channels through which it can obtain material critical to their defense efforts, an area of particular focus for the US with regards to the enforcement of existing sanctions and potentially new ones. Yellen also stated that the Russians were seeking alternative ways to “backfill” parts and equipment to replace and repair weapons damaged in the war.

The US plans to provide another $10 billion in assistance to Ukraine, in addition to the $46 billion already given, Yellen announced. She commended allies for their direct aid and stated that the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) role in these efforts is critical. Yellen stressed the urgency for the IMF to negotiate an agreement to lend to Ukraine and noted that the Fund’s managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, hopes to work out a full program by the end of March.

The G20 primarily focuses on economic rather than security concerns, and the leaders are expected to discuss a range of issues, including climate finance, regulating digital currencies, global taxation efforts, and other financial priorities. Yellen also commented on the global economy, stating that while inflation is easing, and supply disruptions are improving, the world is not yet out of the woods.

She also urged China to work with other donor countries in addressing the problem of debt overhangs faced by many countries after costly efforts to cushion the worst effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yellen added that countries’ import bills have surged due to sustained higher prices for food, oil, and fertilizers, and weakening currencies.

Yellen’s call for reinforced sanctions against Russia and additional support for Ukraine at the G20 summit in Bengaluru is a critical step towards ensuring peace and stability in the region. It is imperative that the international community continues to work together to address the security concerns and economic priorities that the G20 was created to address.