By Rachel Aiello
OTTAWA (CTV Network) — Canadian officials, including Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, joined allies in staging a walkout of a G20 meeting in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday in protest of Russia’s involvement.
At Wednesday’s G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting, Freeland said she and “a number of our democratic partners” got up and left the meeting when Russia sought to intervene.
“This week’s meetings in Washington are about supporting the world economy – and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is a grave threat to the global economy. Russia should not be participating or included in these meetings,” she tweeted.
According to a government official communicating on background to CTV News about the walkout, all who got up and left did so when the Russian finance minister, who was taking part virtually, addressed the G20.
“The world’s democracies will not stand idly by in the face of continued Russian aggression and war crimes.”
A photo posted by Freeland shows that Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem, Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve Jay Powell, Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko, and European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni were among those who got up and left.
The Canadian government source claimed that Freeland also spoke directly to Russian officials who were present in-person, and said something along the lines of, while they may be “technocrats” they are complicit in war crimes and should try to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war, or resign their positions.
Reuters had reported earlier on Wednesday that U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde—who were involved in the walkout—were opposed to the in-person participation of Russian Deputy Finance Minister Timur Maksimov.
Canadian officials including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly have said that Russia’s seat at the G20 should be reevaluated.
“It’s obvious that we can’t have business as usual when it comes to the G20. When it comes to Vladimir Putin sitting around that table with the rest of us, that’s going to be extraordinarily difficult for us and unproductive for the G20,” Trudeau said of the fall G20 Summit in Indonesia.
With a file from CTV National News Washington Correspondent Richard Madan
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