US President Joe Biden strongly stated Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot stay in power”, but the White House later said it was not a call for regime change.
“For God’s sake, this man cannot continue to be in power,” Biden declared at the end of his address at the Royal Castle in Warsaw.
“The president’s position is that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over neighboring countries or the region. He did not discuss Putin’s power in Russia or regime change,” a White House official said.
A White House official said Biden’s quote that Putin “cannot stay in power” was not included in his prepared remarks.
US officials have previously said that removing Putin from power is not their goal.
“For us, it’s not about regime change. The Russian people have to decide who they want to lead,” Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said earlier this month.
The Kremlin’s response: “This is not for Biden to decide,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.