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Joe Biden seeks to temper remark on Vladimir Putin as US allies object

French President Emmanuel Macron and the U.K. government distanced themselves from Biden’s stunning comment, which capped a speech in Warsaw to rally support for Ukraine against Russia. One administration official suggested Biden was influenced by stories of suffering he heard from Ukrainian refugees.

March 28, 2022 / 07:38 AM IST
US President Joe Biden (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (Right)

US President Joe Biden (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (Right)

President Joe Biden sought to clarify his call for the removal of Vladimir Putin, saying he wasn’t seeking regime change after European allies raised concern and critics said he was further inflaming tension with Russia.

French President Emmanuel Macron and the U.K. government distanced themselves from Biden’s stunning comment, which capped a speech in Warsaw to rally support for Ukraine against Russia. One administration official suggested Biden was influenced by stories of suffering he heard from Ukrainian refugees.

With a poll taken before Biden’s European trip saying that some 70% of Americans have limited or little confidence in his handling of the Ukraine war, the stakes were already high. After Saturday’s speech, Biden faced questions about the wisdom of going off-script and aides fanned out to say that the U.S. hasn’t adopted a policy of seeking regime change.

Biden gave a terse rebuttal Sunday in reply to a reporter’s shouted question as he left a church in Washington. Asked whether he wanted Putin removed and was calling for regime change, Biden said, “No.”