Yellen says sanctions over Ukraine war limiting China's ability to buy Russian oil

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen attends the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, November 3, 2021. REUTERS/Phil Noble

WASHINGTON, March 10 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Thursday that financial sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine were limiting China's ability to buy Russian oil, and Beijing was not "meaningfully offsetting or lessening" sanctions pressure on Moscow.

"My sense is that financial institutions in China that do business in dollars and in euros are worried about the impact of sanctions," Yellen said in a Washington Post Live interview.

Yellen said Russia was now experiencing a "severe" economic contraction because of the sanctions and while she declined to offer a specific forecast for Russian output, she said in the longer term, U.S. export controls on advanced semiconductors and other technologies will have a negative effect on Russian growth, "degrading Russia's ability to project power and continue to threaten its neighbors."

The U.S. Treasury was continuing to add names of Russian elites to its sanctions and asset freeze lists, and is working with Western allies to consider further sanctions, Yellen said.

But she said she would not expect most European allies to match the Biden administration's decision to ban all Russian oil imports, because they have fewer alternative sources of supply. The United States, as a net oil exporter, is less dependent on Russian energy, she said.

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Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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