President Joe Biden on Saturday said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power” before the White House walked back his comments, The Week reports.
Biden spoke in Warsaw to a crowd that included Polish President Andrzej Duda and members of parliament during a trip to Poland.
"Don't even think about moving on one single inch of NATO territory," Biden said in his speech. "We have a sacred obligation under Article 5 to defend each and every inch of NATO territory with the full force of our collective power."
But at the end of his remarks, Biden added an off-script aside, adding, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”
White House walks it back:
The White House communications staff quickly tried to spin Biden’s off-script remark.
“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,” an unnamed White House official said in a statement.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been active in negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, said he “wouldn’t use this type of wording because I continue to hold discussions with President Putin.
"We want to stop the war that Russia has launched in Ukraine without waging war and without escalation. This is the objective," Macron said. "We made the choice not to intervene in the conflict militarily," he said. “If we want to do this, we must not be in the escalation, of neither words nor actions."
German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz told reporters on Sunday that regime change in Russia "is not the aim of NATO, and also not that of the American president.”
"We both agree completely that regime change is not an object and aim of policy that we pursue together,” he said.