White House urging US CEOs to avoid Russian forum

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top executives at major U.S. companies are reconsidering or withdrawing their participation in a Russian international economic forum. They have been pressed by the Obama administration to drop out amid the growing crisis in Ukraine.

Among the administration officials calling executives are Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama.

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, held from May 22 to May 24 this year, is an annual event prized by Russian President Vladimir Putin as validation of his country's economic influence.

White House spokeswoman Laura Lucas Magnuson said that while companies can make their own decisions, high-profile appearances with Russian government officials would, quote, "send an inappropriate message."

She said U.S. government officials will not attend the forum this year.