Kremlin calls Biden’s Putin statement ‘alarming’
The Kremlin on Monday said President Biden’s comment this weekend seemingly suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be removed was “alarming.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters “this is a statement that is certainly alarming,” and said Moscow will “continue to track” statements from the U.S. president, Reuters reported.
At the end of a speech in Warsaw, Poland, on Saturday, Biden said, “for God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” which was widely interpreted as meaning Putin should be removed from his position atop Russia’s government.
However, the White House tried to walk back the comment, claiming that Biden was referring to Putin exercising power outside of Russia, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken affirmed that the U.S. has no policy for regime change in Moscow.
“The president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change,” a White House official said in a statement.
Peskov told the newswire Sunday that it’s “not for Biden to decide” whether Putin should remain in power, adding “The president of Russia is elected by Russians.” The Russian leader has been elected to four presidential terms over the past two decades and has been president of Russia since 2012.
“This speech — and the passages which concern Russia — is astounding, to use polite words,” Peskov added. “He doesn’t understand that the world is not limited to the United States and most of Europe.”
The ad-libbed remark came at the end of a 27-minute speech in Warsaw towards the end of Biden’s trip to Europe, which focused on Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Last week, Russia said it summoned the U.S. ambassador to Moscow for a meeting to provide him a “note of protest” over Biden calling Putin a war criminal.
The tough statement from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned that relations between Moscow and the U.S. could be completely severed because of Biden’s remarks and steps by the U.S. government to punish Russia over its invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
“It is emphasized that such statements by the American President, unworthy of a statesman of such a high rank, put Russian-American relations on the verge of breaking,” the statement read.
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