During his trip to Europe, President Joe Biden declared in a speech on March 26 that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power,” a remark that precipitated the response of multiple parties.
In reference to President Biden’s statement, French President Emmanuel Macron told France 3 TV channel, “I wouldn’t use this type of wording because I continue to hold discussions with President Putin.”
The French president warned such comments could exacerbate tensions.
“We want to stop the war that Russia has launched in Ukraine without escalation — that’s the objective,” Macron said.
Biden’s controversial declaration was quickly followed by the denial that he was calling for a regime change. His aides have worked actively to reframe the U.S. president’s criticism.
According to a White House official who spoke with Fox News Digital, allegedly, Biden’s comment was not meant to imply that Putin should not retain power in Russia, but rather that the Russian president could not be permitted to exercise control over neighboring countries in the region.
U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith emphasized, “Let me be clear and just state right off the bat that the U.S. does not have a policy of regime change towards Russia.”
Smith asserted the U.S.’s policy is to help Ukraine negotiate a diplomatic end to the war.
“We do not have a regime change strategy in Russia, or anywhere else, for that matter,” Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken told reporters in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Despite the efforts to elaborate on Biden’s comment, the original statement’s damage appeared to have already been done.
Referencing the U.S. president’s remarks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian state media, “A state leader should control his temper, nonetheless.”
Peskov commented that “personal insults” such as Biden’s discourage diplomatic relations between sovereign states.
“Putin heard loud and clear a call for regime change,” said Russian-born Rebekah Koffler, formerly a Defense Intelligence Agency officer.
However, though Koffler noted that Putin likely took Biden‘s comments as a potential threat, she claimed the Russian president had long suspected that Washington, D.C. was seeking a regime change in his country.
Koffler previously described Putin’s alleged suspicion of the U.S.’s work toward altering Russian leadership in her book, Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America.