Biden says Putin ‘can’t stay in power’ during speech in Poland
President Joe Biden said on Saturday during a speech in Poland that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.” But moments later, the White House appeared to retract its comment, officially saying it was not talking about regime change.
“The president did not want Putin to exercise power over his neighbors or the region,” a White House official said. “He didn’t talk about Putin’s power in Russia or regime change.”
Mr. Biden made the remark about the Russian President at the end of his speech, which he delivered at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. He also condemned Putin’s war in Ukraine and sympathized with the Ukrainian people whose homeland has been devastated by Russian forces and the Russian people who are “cut off from the rest of the world”.
Mr. Biden spoke about Putin’s attack on Ukraine and drew comparisons to WWII and the Soviet Union era. “But the struggle for democracy did not and did not end with the end of the Cold War,” he said.
He said Russia had “strangled democracy” both in Ukraine and at home. Mr Biden accused Putin of using “disinformation” and “brute force” in Russia to quell opposition to the war and cut the Russian people off from the rest of the world and the truth.
Speaking directly to the Russian people, whom he said were not the enemy, Mr. Biden said: “I tell you the truth: this war is not worthy of you, the Russian people.”
Meanwhile, he applauded the Ukrainian people for opposing Russian forces and sympathized with the Ukrainian refugees. Earlier on Saturday, Mr Biden met with refugees in Poland. He said a little girl asked him if she would see her brother and father who are still in Ukraine.
During his speech, Mr. Biden pledged that the United States would continue to supply arms and equipment to the Ukrainian armed forces, while taking in and assisting Ukrainian refugees once they arrived in the US. His message to the Ukrainian people was short and clear: “We stand with you, period.”
Mr. Biden said “this war was already a strategic failure for Russia” because the Ukrainian people are committed to democracy and freedom and the world’s democracies remain united.
“The severity of the threat is why the Western response has been so quick, so forceful, and so united,” Biden said, speaking of the sanctions the US and its allies have imposed on Russian oligarchs.
Mr Biden said Russia’s war has made several things clear: Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels and corruption in the Kremlin must end, and the West must remain united. “We must commit now to fighting this fight for the long haul,” he said.
Earlier on Saturday, Mr. Biden met with Polish President Andrzej Sebastian Duda. He thanked the Polish President for accepting Ukrainian refugees and pledged to continue supporting humanitarian efforts. The two also discussed their coordinated defense efforts, reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian energy and their climate goals.
Mr. Biden also visited PGE Narodowy Stadium, where he spoke to many Ukrainian refugees and volunteers. He told reporters that seeing the humanitarian crisis firsthand made him think of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “butcher.”
He also called the Ukrainian people “amazing”.
In response to Mr. Biden’s “butcher” comment, Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of the State Duma’s international committee, wrote on his Telegram channel that the president’s rhetoric was “unacceptable for a world leader.” Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said on his channel that US citizens should be ashamed of their president.
Saturday marks the final day of the President’s whirlwind trip to Belgium and Poland, which began with G7 and NATO meetings. in Brussels,to add four battle groups along the eastern flank, and Mr. Biden announced an additional $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine. The USA also accept it .
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Saturday that the US would send an additional $100 million to Ukraine for “civilian security assistance.” This includes, according to Blinken’s statement, “personal protective equipment, field equipment, tactical equipment, medical supplies, armored vehicles and communications equipment for the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service and the National Police of Ukraine.”
On Friday, Mr. Bidenin the 82nd Airborne Division, based in Poland near the Ukrainian border, recognizing them for their dedication and volunteering to serve the country and the world. The President told the troops their mission was urgent and momentous, saying they were “in the midst of a struggle between democracies and oligarchs.”
“Who will prevail?” he asked. “Will democracies prevail… and the values we share? Or will autocracies prevail? And that’s really what it’s about.”