Biden says ‘moral outrage’ behind Putin’s comment, not US policy change

US President Joe Biden announces the budget proposal for fiscal year 2023 at the White House in Washington
U.S. President Joe Biden announces his proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Shalanda Young listens in the State Dining Room of the White House on March 28, 2022 in Washington, United States. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

March 28, 2022

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday said his remark that Russian President Vladimir Putin should not remain in power reflected his own moral outrage at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, not a change in U.S. Politics.

Biden faced pressure to speak out on the comment after it sparked a flurry of questions about whether the United States had moved to policies that sought regime change in Moscow.

“I was neither then nor am I articulating a policy change now. I have expressed my moral outrage and I make no apologies,” he told reporters at the White House.

He said his outburst at the end of a major speech on Ukraine on Saturday in Warsaw was prompted by an emotional visit he had to families displaced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

At the end of his speech in the Polish capital, Biden added an unwritten line saying that Putin “cannot remain in power.” Government officials then rushed to clarify that the White House did not advocate regime change in Russia.

Biden said Monday that he was “not going back,” clarifying the remark. When asked if the remark would trigger a negative response from Putin, Biden said, “I don’t care what he thinks. … He will do what he will do.”

But Biden again suggested that Putin should not lead Russia. If Putin “continues the course he’s on, he’ll become an outcast around the world, and who knows what support he’ll get at home,” Biden said.

However, Biden did not rule out meeting Putin, saying it depends on what he wants to talk about.

Biden earlier this month described Putin as a “war criminal” for his role in a conflict that killed many Ukrainian civilians.

He said his comment on Saturday about Putin was intended for a Russian audience. “The last part of the speech was talking to Russian people,” Biden said. “I communicated this not only to the Russian people, but to the whole world. This is just a simple fact that this type of behavior is totally unacceptable. Completely unacceptable.”

(Reporting by Steve Holland and Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Paul Simao and Cynthia Osterman) Biden says ‘moral outrage’ behind Putin’s comment, not US policy change

Bobby Allyn

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