Biden blasts Putin

Biden blasts Putin
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Vice President Biden offered strong words Saturday against Russia's moves in Ukraine, suggesting Russian President Vladimir Putin would buck any peace proposal and accusing the leader of "using psychiatric institutions to quell dissent."

"We all invested in a type of Russia that we hoped and still hope will emerge one day, a Russia integrated in the world economy, more prosperous, more invested in the international order," Biden said during a nearly half-hour speech at the annual Munich Security Conference. 

“Unfortunately — and I mean it when I say ‘unfortunately’ — as the chancellor pointed out this morning, President Putin has chosen a different path," Biden said, referencing remarks made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel after she and French President François Hollande met with Putin on Friday. 

Biden then accused the Russian leader of domestic and international misdeeds.

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"We have seen as much as we would like not to see: increased repression at home including the barbarous practice of using psychiatric institutions to quell dissent, silencing the mothers of soldiers deployed in Ukraine, contempt for the rights of Russia's neighbors to choose their own future, disrespect for the sovereign territorial integrity of Ukraine, but I might also add Georgia and Moldova," he said. 

Biden repeated some remarks he used during his speech in Brussels on Friday, including accusing Putin of sending "little green men" into Ukraine and suggesting Russia's actions stood at odds with its agreements on paper. 

"Too many times President Putin has promised peace and delivered tanks," Biden said. 

"You've seen the pictures," he added. 

Russia has repeatedly denied backing pro-Russian separatists while fighting with Ukraine has escalated. At least 224 civilians were killed and more than 540 injured in the last three weeks of January, the United Nations' human rights office said this week. 

"The president and I agree we must spare no effort to spare lives and resolve the effort peacefully," Biden said. "It's worth the attempt."

Biden pushed non-violent borders, "no spheres of influences" and nations' right to join alliances of their choice.

Emphasizing that economic sanctions would continue if Russia maintained its support of the Ukrainian separatists, Biden maintained "it is not the objective of the United States to collapse or weaken the Russian economy."

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, led a bipartisan U.S. delegation to the conference this weekend. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was seated near Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

The Ukrainian leader, who spoke immediately after Biden, brandished a handful of passports and military IDs allegedly left in Ukraine by Russians who had "lost" their way deep inside Ukrainian territory with tanks full of ammunition. 

"This is the best evidence for the aggression and for the presence of Russian troops," Poroshenko said. 

Biden's remarks come as the United States weighs providing lethal aid and defense equipment to Ukraine. 

Biden offered high praise for America's relationship with European allies "of first resort."

"America and Europe are being tested. President Putin has to understand that as he has changed, so has our focus. We have moved from resetting this important relationship to reasserting the fundamental bedrock principles upon with European freedom and stability rest," he said.