By Humera Pamuk
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that there were no plans for a regime change in Russia to speed up efforts to clarify US President Joe Biden’s statement that he could not stay in power.
Biden even called Putin a “butcher” in Poland on Saturday, citing a sharp rise in US attitudes toward Moscow following the Ukraine invasion.
Julian Smith, the US ambassador to NATO, sought to circumvent Biden’s statement, saying it came the day after he spoke to Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw.
“At the moment, I think it’s a human reaction to the stories he heard that day,” Smith told CNN. “The United States does not have a policy of regime change in Russia.”
At a news conference in Jerusalem, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the Russian people have no say in Russia’s future leadership.
“I think the president, the White House, argued last night, simply that President Putin should not be allowed to declare war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else,” Blingen said.
“You know, as you have heard us say over and over again, we have no strategy to change the regime in Russia or anywhere else. In that case, in any case, it depends on the people of the country. It depends on the Russian people,” Blinken said.
(Phil Stewart, Brendan O’Brien report; additional report by Humera Pamuk in Jerusalem)
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