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Bali (Indonesia) (AFP) Russia’s war in Ukraine threatens global economy, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday as G20 ministers prepare to launch talks in Indonesia.

The Moscow invasion has led to a sharp rise in prices at a time when the country is struggling to recover from the Covid-19 epidemic, placing it at risk over the past two years and threatening hunger and poverty.

“Our biggest problem today comes from the war unrelated to Russia and the unrelated to Ukraine,” he said on the island of Bali ahead of a meeting between finance ministers from major economies and central bank governors on Friday and Saturday.

“We are seeing the negative effects of the war around the world, especially in terms of rising electricity prices, as well as rising food shortages,” he added.

“The international community must be aware that Putin will be held accountable for the global economic and humanitarian crisis.”

Yellen said he would continue to pressure G20 allies at the summit to lower Russia’s oil price to choke Putin’s chest and force Moscow to end its insurgency and lower electricity prices.

“A piece of wood … is one of our most powerful weapons,” he said, adding that the border could deny Putin “the money his military machinery needs”.

He also said he hoped India and China would join such a cup, saying it would “meet their demands” to reduce consumer prices around the world.

But he refused to be attracted to Western officials if they made a trip to many of the Russian states, as they had done at the G20 summit in Washington in April.

“It can’t be business as usual,” he said. “I can tell you that I can expect to express as strongly as I can about my views on the Russian invasion … to talk about the consequences for Ukraine and the rest of the world economy and to protest.”

“I hope many of my friends will do the same.”

The global mind is ‘darkened’

Russia’s finance minister is not present at the Bali talks, instead he spoke for about a week after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was found to have joined the G20 allies in condemning Moscow’s violence.

Yellen’s comments echo the sentiments of the International Monetary Fund, which said on Wednesday that the global economic downturn was “severely tarnished” by the Moscow invasion, just months after reviewing the 2022 and 2023 global predictions.

The IMF is “considering a global downturn” in 2022 and 2023, Kristalina Georgiaieva said in a post that was published earlier this week.

The risk of “social instability” was also exacerbated by rising food and energy prices, he wrote.

But there has been significant progress in trying to resolve the dispute Wednesday after Russia and Ukraine met in Turkey for their first talks since March on an agreement to address the food crisis that came as a result of a ban on wheat exports to the Black Sea.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called “the hope of reducing human suffering and reducing global hunger” ahead of next week’s summit.

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