Biden wants Russia kicked out from G-20

World leaders forum G-20
The G20 logo is pictured in Riyadh on December 10, 2019 as Saudi Arabia geared up to host the 2020 G20 summit, an event that is set to see the leaders of the world’s 20 richest nations converging on the kingdom. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)

President Joe Biden said Russia should be kicked out of the Group of 20 nations in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, a major step that would further isolate the Kremlin and restrict Russia’s say in the global economy.

Russia’s membership in the group, which represents the world’s major economies, was discussed during an emergency meeting with key U.S. allies, Biden told reporters Thursday during a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

He noted that the decision on whether to boot Russia from the group is up to other G-20 members. If the other members decline to revoke Russia’s membership, Ukraine should be permitted to attend G-20 meetings, Biden said.

The G-20 includes not only Western democracies but also tyrannical and authoritarian countries such as China and Saudi Arabia. The group works to address major issues impacting the global economy.

The U.S. and other allies expelled Russia in 2014 from a smaller group that represents industrialized nations after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. That alliance, known at the time as the Group of Eight, is now called the Group of Seven, or G-7.

The president’s remarks came as the U.S. reinforced a united stand with allies in supporting Ukraine one month into Russia’s invasion, with added sanctions against the Kremlin aimed at further crippling the country’s economy. The sanctions against more than 400 Russian officials and entities came as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s economy has shrunk to half the size it was before the invasion, according to the White House.

A senior administration official told reporters that independent assessments indicate Russia’s last 15 years of economic gains will evaporate this year and inflation will spike to 15%.

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Russia, which had the world’s 11th largest economy before the invasion, will fall out of the top 20, according to the official. At the same time, the official said, sanctions are cutting off all sources of potential growth, including blocking Russia from purchasing cutting-edge technology.

Biden also announced Thursday he hopes to meet with Ukrainian refugees while in Europe, giving away a part of his schedule that the White House had not announced.

Biden said getting a first-hand look at the effects of the war on Ukrainians will reinforce his commitment to the U.S. playing a major role in helping both those inside and outside Ukraine.

“I plan on attempting to see those folks as well as, I hope, I’m going to be able to see — guess I’m not supposed to say where I’m going, am I?” Biden said. “But anyway, I hope I get to see a lot of people.”