President Joe Biden on Monday tried to clarify his comments about not allowing President Vladimir Putin to remain in power, insisting he expressed his outrage at the Russian leader’s brutality in Ukraine rather than a new American to disclose policies.
The US president alerted allies and partners on Saturday when he said at the end of a speech in Warsaw: ‘For God’s sake, this man can’t stay in power.’
The White House quickly tried to roll back the comments, saying the president meant Putin could not continue to wield power over neighbors.
And other Western leaders said they feared any hint of regime change would make it harder for Putin to reverse his deadly war in Ukraine.
Biden was asked about the comments after he unveiled his 2023 budget at the White House on Monday afternoon.
“Number one, I’m not walking back,” he said.
“The fact is, I expressed the moral outrage I felt at the way Putin is acting… and this man’s actions, which is just brutality.”
President Joe Biden declined to reverse his comments from Saturday about not allowing Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to remain in power, but faced a barrage of questions from reporters
The president was seen Monday holding a signal card in his left hand while addressing reporters. It contained clues he used during questions, including saying his comments about Putin were fueled by his “moral outrage”
Biden, 79, said he was not concerned his comments would escalate tensions over the war in Ukraine.
“This is just stating a simple fact that this kind of behavior is totally unacceptable,” he said.
But he faced a barrage of questions from reporters trying to clarify his stance and whether he had blundered.
He was asked if he had repeatedly made a mistake by sounding at one point as if he were telling the US troops that they were about to go to Ukraine, as if he were suggesting that the US would use chemical weapons, and as if he was calling for regime change. .
“None of the three has happened,” he said.
Biden’s comments were grabbed by the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin’s allies. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: ‘This is a statement that is certainly alarming’
On Friday, Biden told US troops in Poland they would see the courage of Ukrainians “when you get there” — prompting a White House official to make it clear to reporters that he wasn’t suggesting Americans were about to be deployed. in the war-torn country.
And last week, Biden said NATO would respond “in kind” if Russian forces used chemical weapons — forcing another official to make it clear that the US had no intention of using chemical weapons.
On Monday, Biden also rejected the idea that his words could have increased tensions over Ukraine.
“Nobody believes… I was talking about taking down Putin,” he said, adding: “The last thing I want to do is go into a land war or a nuclear war with Russia.”
Instead, he insisted he was expressing an “aspiration” rather than a goal of US foreign policy.
“People like this shouldn’t be ruling countries. But they do,” he said. “Just because they do that doesn’t mean I can’t express my indignation about it.”
The White House had already tried to clean up. It said the crucial nine words were not part of his scripted speech.
The president’s point was that Putin should not exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He wasn’t talking about Putin’s power in Russia or about regime change,” a White House official said.
Biden made his controversial remarks at the end of his three-day trip to Europe, at the conclusion of a speech in the Polish capital Warsaw on Saturday. The White House then had to retract his comments and insisted he not advocate for regime change
And the issue continued to haunt Secretary of State Antony Blinken on his trip to the Middle East, where he sought to build US relations as Washington pursues a new nuclear deal with Iran.
During a press conference in Jerusalem, he said: “Putin cannot be given the power to wage war or to commit aggression against Ukraine or anyone else.”
But his comments have provided the Kremlin with ammunition as it continues its war in Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “This is a statement that is certainly alarming.”
He added that Russian officials would “continue to follow the statements of the US president in the most attentive way,” Peskov added.
French President Emmanuel Macron said using such incendiary language would not help an already unstable situation.
He said he would not have used Biden’s words and that the focus should be on finding a ceasefire and securing the withdrawal of Russian troops through diplomatic means.
“If we want to do that, we cannot escalate in words or deeds,” he told broadcaster France 3.
And United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres suggested Biden’s comments were useless.
“I think we need de-escalation: we need military de-escalation and rhetoric de-escalation,” he said when asked about Biden’s comments.
Firefighters work to extinguish a fire at a warehouse hit by Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on March 28, 2022. More than half of Kharkov’s 1.4 million inhabitants have fled the city
The southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol (pictured) is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster and must be completely evacuated, the mayor said today.