President Joe Biden demanded Russian leader Vladimir Putin be removed from power, during a speech in Poland over the weekend. The White House quickly issued a statement saying the president was not calling for regime change in Moscow.
The president’s latest verbal assault on Russia was made Saturday during Biden’s four-day trip to Europe. Standing in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, he said, “For God’s sake, this man [Putin] cannot remain in power.”
The statement appeared to be a call to remove Putin as president of the Russian Federation. Shortly after, the White House issued a statement claiming that was not Biden’s intent. Fox News reports an administration official said, “The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”
This is the second time during Biden’s stay in Poland that the White House has been forced to clarify the president’s remarks. On Friday, Biden appeared to tell soldiers in the Army’s 82nd Airborn that they would soon be deployed to Ukraine. "And you’re going to see when you’re there," he said.
When asked about the statement, the White House told Fox News, "the president has been clear we are not sending US troops to Ukraine and there is no change in that position."
In recent weeks, Biden has called Putin a "murderous thug," "dictator," and "war criminal." Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the remarks had pushed the Moscow-Washington relationship to the "verge of breaking."
The Kremlin appears less concerned about Biden’s Saturday speech. When asked about the comment by Reuters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “That’s not for Biden to decide. The president of Russia is elected by Russians.”
However, he warned, "Personal insults like this narrow the window of opportunity for our bilateral relations under the current [US] administration. It is necessary to be aware of this."
French President Emmanual Macron echoed Moscow’s concerns about Biden’s statement. He said achieving a ceasefire was the first priority and “If we want to do that, we can’t escalate either in words or actions.”