The United States (U.S.) envoy to NATO said on Sunday that the United States does not have a policy of regime change in Russia.
His remarks were an effort to clarify President Joe Biden’s statement that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.”
Speaking in Poland, the US president built on earlier remarks in which he called Vladimir Putin a “butcher”, describing him as “a dictator” and saying stopping the war in Ukraine is “the task of our time”.
He said: “Brutality will never grind down the will to be free. Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia.” He added at the end of his speech:
For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.
The White House later denied the US president was calling for regime change.
A Kremlin spokesman, responding to Mr Biden’s comment, said:
That’s not for Biden to decide. The president of Russia is elected by Russians.
Hours after Biden’s speech, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States does not have a plan for regime change in Russia. He said Sunday during a press conference in Jerusalem:
I think the president, the White House, made the point last night that, quite simply, President Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else.
As you know, and as you have heard us say repeatedly, we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia or anywhere else, for that matter.
Julianne Smith, U.S. ambassador to NATO, also reaffirmed Sunday that the U.S. is not pursuing regime change in Russia.
On February 24, 2022, Putin authorised a military operation on Ukraine citing human rights violations on Russian speaking citizens. The move worsened tensions between Kremlin and the West and has since seen the West imposing sanctions on Russia.