US must support Ukraine, stop Russia threatening other countries, Yellen says
US must support Ukraine, stop Russia threatening other countries, Yellen says
US must support Ukraine, stop Russia threatening other countries, Yellen says
by DZRH News15 February 2024
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in Mexico City, Mexico December 6, 2023. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril/File Photo

By Andrea Shalal

DETROIT (Reuters) -U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday said it was "critically important" the United States fulfill its promises to support Ukraine, warning that failing to do so would embolden Russian leader Vladimir Putin to attack other countries.

Yellen, speaking to reporters during a visit to Detroit to tout the Biden administration's economic gains, blasted former President Donald Trump's comment over the weekend calling into question U.S. willingness to support members of the Western defense alliance if they were attacked.

"I consider those remarks to be highly irresponsible," Yellen said, adding she had spoken with foreign officials in recent days and they understood that President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of lawmakers remained supportive of NATO and Ukraine.


Biden on Tuesday said Trump's remarks were "dangerous" and "un-American" and that they raised the stakes for the U.S. Congress to approve new funding to support Ukraine.

On Saturday, Trump complained during a political rally in South Carolina about what he called "delinquent" payments by NATO members and recalled what he said was a past conversation with a foreign leader about a potential attack by Russia.

"No, I would not protect you. In fact I would encourage them (Russia) to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay," Trump said he told the unnamed leader.

Yellen urged members of the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives to approve a Senate-passed $95.34 billion military aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.


"It is a critical priority for us to live up to the promises that were made to our allies and to Ukraine to provide support," Yellen said. "If we're not supportive of Ukraine, then Putin will continue and threaten other countries. It will embolden others with malign intent to do likewise."

Yellen said the United States and its allies were studying the potential risks of seizing frozen Russian assets to help support Ukraine, and how any adverse repercussions could best be mitigated.

Asked if a decision on the issue could be finalized by the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022., Yellen said, "We're working very hard; I'm not going to make any promises with respect to timetable."

The IMF on Monday warned that any decisions on the issue should be backed with "sufficient legal support" to avert future risks.


After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the United States, the European Union and other Group of Seven advanced economies prohibited transactions with Russia's central bank and finance ministry, blocking around $300 billion of sovereign Russian assets in the West.

Some senior Western officials are concerned that confiscating Russian assets invested in government bonds denominated in euros, dollars and pounds could undermine the willingness of central banks to store reserves with each other.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Leslie Adler and Daniel Wallis)

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