President Joe Biden said in a speech in Poland on Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot stay in power.” But a few minutes later, the White House seemed to decline to comment, saying it was not talking about regime change.
“The president has argued that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region,” the White House spokesman said. “He did not discuss Putin’s rule in Russia or regime change.”
Mr. Biden made a remark about the President of Russia at the end of his speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. He also condemned Putin’s war in Ukraine, sympathizing with the Ukrainian people, whose homeland was destroyed by Russian troops, and the Russian people, who were “cut off from the rest of the world.”
Mr Biden spoke of Putin’s attack on Ukraine, comparing it to World War II and the Soviet era. “But the battle for democracy could not and did not end with the end of the Cold War,” he said.
He said Russia had “suppressed democracy” both in Ukraine and at home. Mr Biden has accused Putin of using “disinformation” and “brute force” in Russia to quell resistance to the war and cut off the Russian people from the rest of the world and the truth.
Speaking directly to the Russian people, who he said were not enemies, Mr Biden said: “I tell you the truth: this war is not worth 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 that one little girl asked him if she would see her brother and father, who are still in Ukraine.
During his speech, Mr. Biden promised that the United States would continue to supply weapons and equipment to Ukrainian troops, while accepting and supporting Ukrainian refugees as soon as they arrive in the United States. His message to the Ukrainian people was short and clear: “We stand with you, period.”
Mr. Biden said that “this war has already become a strategic failure for Russia” because of the determination of the Ukrainian people to democracy and freedom, and the democratic countries of the world remain united.
“The seriousness of the threat is because the West’s response has been so swift, so powerful and united,” Biden said, referring to sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies against Russian oligarchs.
Mr Biden said Russia’s war had revealed several things: Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels and corruption in the Kremlin should end, and the West should remain united. “We must commit to this struggle for a long time,” he said.
Earlier on Saturday, Mr. Biden met with Polish President Andrzej Sebastian Duda. He thanked the President of Poland for accepting Ukrainian refugees and promised to continue supporting humanitarian efforts. They also discussed their coordinated defense efforts, reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian energy and their climate goals.
Mr. Biden also visited the PGE Narodowy Stadium, where he spoke with many Ukrainian refugees and volunteers. He told reporters that seeing the humanitarian crisis firsthand, he thought of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “butcher.”
He also called the Ukrainian people “strange.”
Saturday is the last day of the president’s whirlwind trip to Belgium and Poland, which began with G7 and NATO meetings. In Brussels, NATO leaders agreed add four battle groups along the Eastern Flank, and Mr. Biden announced additional military assistance to Ukraine of $ 1 billion. The US is also accepting up to 100 thousand Ukrainian refugees.
On Friday, Mr. Biden visited the troops in the 82nd Airborne Division, based in Poland, near the Ukrainian border, recognizing them for stepping up and volunteering to serve the country and the world. The president told the military that their mission was urgent and effective, that they were “in the midst of a struggle between democracies and oligarchs.”
“Who will win?” He asked. “Will democracy win … and the values we share? Will autocracy win? And that’s really what’s at stake.”