Regime Change? Blinken Walks Back Biden’s Unscripted Comments On Putin

Daily Mail

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‘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,’ Blinken said according to multiple reports.

‘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.’

The US’s chief diplomat was speaking at a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

It comes after the White House was forced to walk the president’s remark back, which also sparked outrage in Moscow.

Biden said of Putin on Saturday: ‘For god’s sake this man cannot remain in power.’

He described the Russian president as having a ‘craving for absolute power and control.’

The White House moved quickly to specify Biden was not looking for ‘regime change’ in one of the world’s largest nuclear powers.

‘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.

The Biden administration has taken care to not call for a power shift in Russia, knowing Putin would see it as an escalation.

‘This is not to be decided by Mr. Biden,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in response. ‘It should only be a choice of the people of the Russian Federation.’

Last week the Kremlin accused Biden of levying ‘personal insults’ at Putin after the president called Russia’s leader a ‘war criminal.’

In the wake of Biden’s unscripted remark in Warsaw, Council of Foreign Relations President Richard Haass speculated that Blinken should go even further than downplaying the president’s remarks.

The foreign policy expert told Politico that Biden needs to send Blinken or National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, or another similar high-ranking official, to speak with their Russian counterparts and assure them the US would not seek regime change.

‘The fact that it was so off-script in some ways makes it worse,’ Haass said, explaining that Putin could view it as Biden’s genuine beliefs.

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