President Joe Biden says Vladimir Putin 'cannot remain in power' but stops short of calling for regime change

President Joe Biden says Vladimir Putin 'cannot remain in power' but stops short of calling for regime change
President Joe Biden delivers a speech about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, at the Royal Castle, Saturday, March 26, 2022, in Warsaw.Evan Vucci/AP
  • US President Joe Biden said Russia's Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power."
  • The White House has since walked back the comments, saying Biden was "not discussing Putin's power in Russia or regime change."

President Joe Biden declared that Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot stay in power as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine. The comment has since been walked back by the White House.

"For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power," Biden said of Putin at the conclusion of his speech from the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland. He added that Russia had "strangled democracy" with its aggression.

Biden has already issued strong rebukes of Putin, previously calling him a "war criminal" and "a murderous dictator, a pure thug."

The White House denied that Biden was calling for a regime change in his speech.

"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, according to Fox News.


Secretary of State Antony Blinken previously said that the US was not seeking a regime change.

"For us, it's not about regime change. The Russian people have to decide who they want to lead them," Blinken said at the time.

The White House declined to say whether Biden's statement was part of his prepared remarks for the speech, the Associated Press reported.

Putin's invasion of Ukraine has left thousands dead and even more displaced as refugees. Russian forces have been accused of war crimes, targeting Ukrainian schools and hospitals.

Amid Biden's visit in Warsaw, several rockets struck the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, just 45 miles away from Poland.