Home / WORLD / Russia’s Vladimir Putin ‘cannot remain in power’, says Joe Biden

Russia’s Vladimir Putin ‘cannot remain in power’, says Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden has said that Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power” in a fiery speech pushing the world’s democracies to unite to support Ukraine, though the White House later said Biden was not calling for regime change in Moscow.

“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden said at the very end of a speech in Poland’s capital on Saturday that served as the capstone on a four-day trip to Europe.

The Kremlin dismissed the remarks, saying the US had no authority in the matter.

“That’s not for Biden to decide. The president of Russia is elected by Russians,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters.

A White House official later said Biden had not been calling for “regime change” in Russia but had meant that “Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbours or the region.”

Biden’s remarks in Warsaw came after three days of meetings in Europe with the G7, European Council and NATO allies and roughly at the same time as rockets hit the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, 60 km (37 miles) from the Polish border.

In his speech, the US President also compared Ukraine’s resistance against a Russian invasion to the anti-Soviet “battle for freedom” and said the world must prepare for a “long fight ahead”.

“In this battle we need to be clear-eyed. This battle will not be won in days, or months, either,” Biden said. “We must commit now, to be in this fight for the long haul.”

He also called the conflict in Ukraine a “strategic failure” for Moscow and rebuked Putin for his claim that the invasion sought to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

“We stand with you,” he told Ukrainians.

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Addressing Russians, he said that they were “not our enemy” and urged them to blame Putin for the heavy economic sanctions imposed by the West.

He also warned Russia not to move on an “inch” of NATO territory, reiterating the “sacred obligation” of collective defence for alliance members.

“The Kremlin wants to portray NATO enlargement as an imperial project aimed to destabilise in Russia,” Biden said. “NATO is a defensive alliance that has never sought the demise of Russia.”

Earlier on Saturday, shortly after meeting with Ukrainian refugees, Biden had called Putin a “butcher”.

The Kremlin has replied by questioning the US leader’s state of mind.

Last week it accused Biden of making “personal insults” towards Putin after he labelled him a “war criminal” and a “murderous dictator”, and said his remarks appeared to have been spurred by irritation, fatigue and forgetfulness.

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, suggested mockingly on social media that the clarification of Biden’s latest remarks had come from the White House medical unit.

Rogozin has previously derided what he called “Alzheimer’s sanctions” imposed on Russia by the United States over the war in Ukraine, which Moscow calls a special military operation.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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