Experts say Biden’s comment that Putin must go could give Russian president the freedom to show no restraint

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US President Joe Biden (left) and Vladimir Putin.Patrick Semansky / AP; Mikhail Klimentyev / AP

  • In loose remarks, President Joe Biden said on Saturday that Putin cannot stay in power.

  • The White House was quick to backtrack on Biden’s statement.

  • Foreign policy experts say the comments could help Putin show less restraint.

President Joe Biden’s comments that Russian President Vladimir Putin should no longer be in power could give Putin the freedom to show restraint, experts told The Washington Post.

At the end of his speech from the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, on Saturday, Biden said, “For God’s sake, this man can’t stay in power.”

The White House has since reversed the comments, saying Biden’s comments did not call for regime change in Russia.

“The president’s point was that Putin should not be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not talking about Putin’s power in Russia or about regime change,” an official said. from the White House according to Fox News.

However, some foreign policy experts say Biden’s comments could escalate tensions and complicate a diplomatic end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Richard Haass, a veteran diplomat and chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, told the Post that Biden’s comments do not meet the priorities of “ending the war on terms Ukraine can accept, and discouraging any escalation by Putin.” “.

“It essentially discourages Putin from any compromise – if you have everything to lose, it liberates him. Why should he show any restraint?” Haas added. “And it confirms its worst fears, which is that this is what the United States is pursuing its expulsion and systemic change.”

Haass told Politico that while the White House immediately backed those comments, the fact that Biden’s comments were irrelevant “could be read as Biden’s sincere conviction as opposed to his written words.”

Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told the Post the comments worry him that top officials in Biden’s administration may not be thinking about ways to end the war.

“If it were, Biden’s head wouldn’t be in a place where he says ‘Putin must go’. The only way to end the war is to negotiate with this man,” O’Hanlon said. .

Read the original article on Business Insider

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