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White House Walks Back President Biden’s Comments That Appeared To Some To Call For Regime Change In Russia

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


President Joe Biden sent shockwaves during a speech in Poland speaking about the war between Russia and Ukraine.

The president ended his speech on Saturday in what many believed to be a reference to regime change in Russia and getting rid of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Putin the president said, “For God’s sake this man cannot remain in power.”

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“This is not to be decided by Mr. Biden. It should only be a choice of the people of the Russian Federation,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in response.

The White House later explained that, “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.”

“Biden on Putin: ‘this man cannot remain in power’ for the first time, overtly embracing regime change in Russia,” CNN reporter John Harwood said.

“WARSAW — ‘For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,’ said Biden, referring to Putin, as he closes out his big speech in Poland. Worth noting that the Biden administration so far has been at pains to NOT even hint at anything approximately regime change,” MSNBC political analyst Ashley Parker said.

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It was the end of a long speech in which he portrayed Ukraine as the front line in the fight between autocracy and democracy.

” My message to the people of Ukraine is … we stand with you. Period,” he said in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland.

“We emerged anew in the great battle for freedom, a battle between democracy and autocracy. Between liberty and oppression. Between a rules-based order and one governed by brute force,” he said. “In this battle, we need to be clear-eyed. This battle will not be won in days or months either. We need to steel ourselves for the long fight ahead.”

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CNN reported:

Just before Biden was set to speak in Poland, an airstrike struck a fuel depot just outside Lviv, Ukraine – about 200 miles away from where the President would speak. The strike caused billowing smoke and flames to rise above the western Ukrainian city, which had largely been seen as a safe haven during the war given its distance from the Russia-Ukraine border.

It was a surprising attack, coming just a day after the Russian military said the first phase of the conflict had ended and they were shifting their attention to the disputed eastern parts of Ukraine. After days of Western leaders displaying their united front against Russia, the strike could be seen as a response from Russian President Vladimir Putin and his military to Biden and the West.

Earlier in the day, Biden cited a dark history of US hesitance with involving itself in Europe’s wars as an example of how the continent’s security is in the American national interest, a striking comment illustrating the about-face in US foreign policy from the last administration.

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“America’s ability to meet its role in other parts of the world rests upon a united Europe and a secure Europe,” Biden said Saturday as he met with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw. “We have learned from sad experiences in two world wars, when we’ve stayed out of and not been involved in stability in Europe, it always comes back to haunt the United States.”

Biden’s comments came during the final day of a last-minute trip to Europe aimed at synchronizing how Western allies address Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Biden and Duda spent a lengthy stretch in a one-on-one meeting before beginning an expanded session with aides. Biden said he raised the world war comparisons during the private meeting.

In brief remarks, Biden repeatedly cited America’s commitment to NATO’s Article V pledge of common defense, and noted he was a main proponent of Polish membership in NATO when he was a senator 25 years ago.5

“We take Article 5 as a sacred commitment, not a throwaway, a sacred commitment that relates to every member of NATO,” Biden said, insisting that members must remain “absolutely, completely thoroughly united.”

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