US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spent Sunday reassuring American allies in the Israeli Knesset that the US is not seeking regime change in Russia despite recent statements made by President Joe Biden that might indicate the opposite.
The New York Post reported that Blinken said, “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.”
The US’s top diplomat went on to say that the American government’s official stance on Russia did not include Biden’s alleged insistence of regime change.
“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,” Blinken added.
Blinken suggested, instead, that the Russian people should oust their president through democratic processes.
“As in any case, it’s up to the people of the country in question. It’s up to the Russians,” he affirmed.
On Saturday, during a speech in Poland, Biden raised eyebrows when he appeared to make an explicit call for regime change in Russia.
“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden proclaimed.
“A dictator bent on rebuilding an empire will never erase a people’s love of liberty,” Biden said. “Free people refuse to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness.”
Biden also called his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, a “butcher.”
Many of Biden’s statements were quickly walked back by White House officials who implied the president’s words did not accurately relay US foreign policy.
A White House official said, “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.”
This past weekend, Biden also suggested to US troops who were stationed in Poland that they would witness the bravery of the Ukrainian people “when you’re there” explicitly insinuating that American troops would be deployed to Ukraine.
Biden said, “You’re going to see when you’re there, and some of you have been there, you’re gonna see — you’re gonna see women, young people standing in the middle in front of a dammed tank just saying, ‘I’m not leaving, I’m holding my ground.’”
True to form, the White House quickly clarified that the president was mistaken and that he had not, in fact, changed his stance on deploying the military into Ukraine.