U.S. allies have distanced themselves from President Joe Biden’s declaration Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.”
“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power!” Biden insisted during his speech in Poland.
The White House walked back Biden’s remarks immediately following his speech, stating that the president was not discussing regime change or Putin’s power in Russia. However, Biden’s remarks have sparked reactions from U.S. allies in Europe.
“I wouldn’t use this kind of words,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a television interview on Sunday on France 3. “If we want to do this, we mustn’t escalate,” whether it be through “words ” or “actions.”
Macron has voiced his support for a ceasefire since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24
“I think that’s up to the Russian people,” Nadhim Zahawi, Britain’s education secretary, said Sunday, referring to a potential regime change in Russia. He said he felt the United States and Britain both agreed it was the Russian people who should determine who leads them.
“The Russian people, I think, are pretty fed up with what is happening in Ukraine, this illegal invasion, the destruction of their own livelihoods, their economy is collapsing around them and I think the Russian people will decide the fate of Putin and his cronies,” he said.
Biden’s declaration contradicts remarks previously made by his administration which emphasized that the goal of U.S. involvement in the Ukraine crisis was not the removal of Putin from power.
“For us, it’s not about regime change,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier in March. “The Russian people have to decide who they want to lead them.”
The Kremlin pushed back on Biden’s statement, with spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stating it was up to the Russian people to choose their leader.