This Man Cannot Remain in Power says Biden of Putin

Monday 28 March 2022

Officials later clarified that Biden was not advocating for regime change, but the words effectively conveyed the president's displeasure and exasperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

By Agus Supriyadi

On Saturday, March 26, 2022, US President Joe Biden delivers a speech in the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland. Biden is in Poland for the final leg of his four-day tour to Europe, where he is attempting to maintain allies' unity while also supporting Ukraine's defense. (Photo courtesy of AP/Petr David Josek

President Joe Biden gave a passionate defense of democracy on Saturday, as well as a scathing assessment of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Biden referred to as a "butcher" for the autocrat's horrific month-long onslaught on Ukraine.

"For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power," Biden said at the end of a European trip to coordinate alliance response to the invasion in a speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw.

After the speech, a senior US official downplayed Biden's remarks, telling reporters that Biden was merely stating that Putin should not be allowed to exercise influence over his neighbors and that he was not advocating for regime change. However, the president's comments reflected Biden's anger and dissatisfaction with Putin, who has gone from dealing with Western nations as an equal participant to acting more like the Russia that the US struggled against during the Cold War in the last decade.

The US president provided no blueprint for deposing Putin, but he made a point of speaking directly to the Russian people, praising those who risked imprisonment for opposing the war and rejecting Putin's propaganda about the invasion's grounds.

"You, the Russian people, are not our enemy," Biden said, adding that he does not believe Russians – who fought fascism in World War II – support the "murdering of innocent children or grandparents" or the bombing of schools and hospitals.

"This isn't your true self. This isn't the kind of future you deserve... This conflict is unworthy of you, Russians "Biden spoke to a throng of 750-1,000 people, which included members of the Polish parliament, students, and Ukrainian refugees, some of whom were flying American flags. A livestreamed broadcast of the lecture attracted an additional 3,000 people beyond the castle walls.

During discussions with the US and NATO in the months preceding up to the invasion, Biden stated that Putin "was focused on violence from the start" and refused any diplomatic efforts to avoid conflict. Russian soldiers blasted the western city of Lviv as Biden was on his way to speak at the Royal Castle, less than 250 miles away, as if to emphasize Biden's argument — or possibly to offer Putin's own defiant reaction to the American president.

Biden spoke about the conflict in the context of past fights for freedom in Eastern and Central Europe, an emotive and strong reference for the Polish audience, which has a more personal and recent experience with aggression from its eastern border, according to the White House.

Dissidents in Hungary and Poland in 1956, and then-Czechoslovakia in 1968, fought against Soviet rule, according to Biden. He praised Poland's Solidarity movement, which began in 1979 and spurred the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the end of the Soviet empire.

"Autocratic forces have resurfaced all across the world in the last 30 years," Biden stated. "It has well-known characteristics. Disregard for the rule of law, for democratic freedom, and for the truth itself. Today, Russia has suffocated democracy – and has attempted to do so everywhere, not only in its own country."

Invoking a historical American leader, President Abraham Lincoln, Biden said it was time to "restore faith" in democracy's ability to "thwart the designs of despotism."

"Let us remember," the president remarked, "that the test of this moment is the test of all time."

Biden, who had earlier in the day labeled Putin a "butcher" after meeting with Ukrainian refugees, lambasted the Russian leader for lying about the attack's origins. Putin has informed Russians that he is "de-Nazifying" Ukraine and that the people there will greet Russian forces as liberators, taking advantage of the Kremlin's media monopoly.

Because Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish and lost some of his family in the Holocaust, this propaganda has enraged Western politicians.

"It's a fabrication. Simply said, it's cynical. "He's well aware of that," Biden stated.

The president was wrapping off a tour that included meetings with NATO and G-7 leaders to discuss possible new penalties against Russia, as well as a visit with American troops stationed in Poland and discussions with humanitarian relief groups. On Saturday, Biden personally greeted Ukrainian refugees, raising a young girl and describing how one youngster had asked him in English if her sibling and father would be okay.

The president has spoken about the problem almost daily, explaining why he opposes a no-fly zone, which he claims would lead to "World War III," as well as the impact of Russian sanctions on American consumers.

But Biden's statement on Saturday was more expansive, portraying the crisis as a watershed moment in the worldwide war between democracies and autocracies. He stated, "The war for democracy did not finish with the end of the Cold War."

Not just the Poles and Ukrainians in the crowd, but also the Russians, Americans, and Putin himself were addressed in his speech.

Biden told the Ukrainian people, "We stand with you – period." To Europe, he requested that the continent try to minimize its reliance on Russian fossil fuels, which he promised the US will assist with. The heavy economic sanctions against Russia are already working, according to Biden, with the currency reduced to "rubble" and the country's GDP going from one of the world's top 20 to not even making the top 20.

Biden cautioned Americans that the dispute would take time to resolve.

"This struggle will not be won in a matter of days or months. We must prepare ourselves for the long battle ahead "Biden stated the following. Because of the high gas costs in the United States, which are partly related to the Russian situation, a longer conflict could entail more agony at the pump.

While Biden has been steadfast in his desire for American soldiers to stay out of Ukrainian land, he did draw a very clear line on Saturday about the consequences if Putin attempted to cross into a NATO member country.

"Do not even consider moving on a single square inch of NATO territory." In statements intended at Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden added, "We have a holy commitment."

According to Biden, Putin has already lost the fight from a strategic standpoint. Despite Putin's efforts to fracture and weaken NATO, he claims the security alliance is stronger than ever.

""Russia has accomplished something I'm sure he didn't intend," Biden remarked. "The world's democracies have been reborn with a sense of purpose and togetherness that took years to achieve before."

Tags: Joe BidenVladimir PutinRussia

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