US President Joe Biden said on Saturday March 26 in Warsaw that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin should not stay in power after launching the invasion in Ukraine. An assertion quickly qualified by the White House.
“For the love of God, this man cannot stay in power”, launched Mr. Biden, during a speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, with a particularly harsh tone towards Russian President Vladimir Putin. Earlier in the day, he called the Russian leader a ” Butcher “.
But a senior White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, clarified shortly after that the US president had not called for a “regime change” in Moscow. “What the president meant was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or over the region. He wasn’t talking about Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”said the latter.
Speaking directly to Russians, Mr Biden insisted that it is not the Russian people he sees as the enemy. “Let me say this if you are able to hear me – you, the Russian people, are not our enemy”did he declare.
“I refuse to believe that you welcome the murder of innocent children and grandparents or that you accept that hospitals, schools, maternities be pounded by Russian missiles and bombs. “This war is not worthy of you, Russian people. Putin can and must end this war”hammered the American president again.
But at the same time he felt that the conflict was not going to end soon. The battle between democracy and autocracy will not be “not won in a few days or months. We must arm ourselves for a long fight ahead of us”he warned, before assuring the Ukrainians: “We are on your side. »
He also reaffirmed that the United States did not want to come into conflict with the Russian forces that invaded Ukraine, but he issued a strong warning to Moscow: “Don’t even think about advancing an inch into NATO territory”.
Joe Biden calls Vladimir Putin a “butcher”
Previously, President Biden spoke in Warsaw with two Ukrainian ministers in his first such face-to-face meeting with senior Kyiv officials since the Russian aggression began.
He also met Ukrainian refugees hosted in Poland and, moved by what he saw, called Russian President Vladimir Putin a ” Butcher “.
“A head of state must remain thoughtful”reacted the spokesman of the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, with the Russian news agency TASS. “Of course, each time, personal insults like this reduce the scope of our bilateral relations with the current US government. »
Asked about the Russian command’s announcement that the latter is counting “to concentrate the bulk of the efforts on the main objective: the liberation of Donbass”the US President said he “wasn’t sure” that it means a real change of strategy.
Until now, the Kremlin has displayed its desire to “demilitarize” and of “denazify” entire Ukraine, attacking the country in several places and seeking to occupy its capital kyiv.
At the end of the morning, Mr. Biden spoke at his hotel with the head of Ukrainian diplomacy Dmytro Kouleba and the Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov, on the sidelines of their meeting with the American Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Secretary to the Lloyd Austin defense.
The four ministers discussed in particular “the unwavering commitment of the United States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
NATO’s collective defense agreement, “a sacred duty”
Mr. Kouleba then said that he had given Mr. Biden a fragment of the Russian missile which had struck the Yavoriv base, near the Polish border.
On the second day of his official visit to Poland, Mr. Biden also met his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda. He assured him that Article 5 of the NATO treaty, stipulating that an attack on one member country is an attack on all, constituted a “sacred duty” for the United States, before quoting an old Polish maxim: “For our freedom and yours. » This formula, which dates from a Polish insurrection against the occupation by Tsarist Russia, was intended to show the Russians that the uprising should also free them from the despotism of the Tsars.
Mr. Biden also said that the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, “counted on a divided NATO”but that this division did not occur.
More than 3.7 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the war; 2 million of them are in Poland. Earlier this week, the United States announced that it would welcome up to 100,000 refugees. Mr. Biden told Mr. Duda that he understood that Poland “assumed a great responsibility, but [que] it should be NATO’s responsibility”.