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Biden says Putin ‘cannot remain in power’

President Joe Biden delivers remarks in Warsaw, Poland on March 26, 2022. (White House/Released)
March 26, 2022

President Joe Biden slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin during his trip to Europe on Saturday, calling Putin a “butcher” and insisting Putin could not “remain in power,” leading some to speculate Biden was calling for Russian regime change.

Biden delivered a 27-minute speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland on Saturday in which he praised the strength of the Ukrainian people, the support of Ukrainian allies, and condemned Putin.

“We will have a different future — a brighter future rooted in democracy and principle, hope and light, of decency and dignity, of freedom and possibilities,” Biden said at the close of his speech. “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

Biden’s remarks caused apparent frantic among his aides, who released a statement soon after to clarify that Biden was not calling for Russian regime change.

“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,” a White House official said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov condemned Biden’s remarks, saying, “it’s not up to the president of the U.S. and not up to the Americans to decide who will remain in power in Russia.”

Earlier on Saturday, Biden answered a reporter’s question and called Putin “a butcher” for the damage he’s caused with his war on Ukraine. Biden has ramped up his verbal attacks of Putin, calling him a “war criminal” and “dictator” in recent weeks.

Peskov also responded to the “butcher” characterization, saying, “a state leader should keep their temper,” and also warning that Biden’s “personal insults” aimed at Putin would damage relations between the U.S. and Russia, Russian state media TASS reported.

On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he believes the U.S. and the West have declared “total war” on Russia.

“A real hybrid war, total war was declared on us,” Lavrov said, adding that the goal of the West is to “destroy, break, annihilate, strangle the Russian economy, and Russia on the whole.”