In a major speech in Warsaw on Saturday, Biden said the world must prepare for a “long fight ahead”.
US President Joe Biden has dramatically escalated his rhetoric against Vladimir Putin, calling for the Russian leader to be removed because of his brutal invasion of Ukraine.
“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden said at the very end of a speech in Poland’s capital on Saturday that served as the capstone on a four-day trip to Europe.
In a major speech in Warsaw, Biden compared Ukraine’s resistance against a Russian invasion to the anti-Soviet “battle for freedom” and said the world must prepare for a “long fight ahead”.
He also called the conflict in Ukraine a “strategic failure” for Moscow.
“We stand with you,” he told Ukrainians.
Addressing Russians, he said that they were “not our enemy” and urged them to blame Putin for the heavy economic sanctions imposed by the West.
“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” he said.
He also warned Russia not to move on an “inch” of NATO territory, reiterating the “sacred obligation” of collective defence for alliance members.
Later on Saturday, a White House official said the US president was not calling for regime change in Russia.
“The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbours or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change,” the official said.
Biden has frequently talked about ensuring that the Kremlin’s now two-month invasion becomes a “strategic failure” for Putin and has described the Russian leader as a “war criminal”.
But until his remarks in Warsaw, the American leader had not said that Putin should not run Russia.
Earlier on Saturday, shortly after meeting with Ukrainian refugees, Biden called Putin a “butcher”.
More to follow