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Biden says remark on Putin's power was about 'moral outrage', no change in US policy

Biden says remark on Putins power was about moral outrage, no change in US policy
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Washington: US President Joe Biden has said that he would make "no apologies" and was not walking anything back after his controversial remark that President Vladimir Putin cannot remain in power" and emphasising that his comment was a "moral outrage" that he felt after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Biden also underlined that he is not calling for regime change in Moscow.

When pressed by reporters on Monday, Biden refused to apologise for his off-script comments, which his administration has been having a tough time explaining over the past few days.

I'm not walking anything back. The fact of the matter is, I was expressing the moral outrage I felt toward the way Putin is dealing ..., which is just brutality, half the children of Ukraine. I just come from being with those families, Biden said at a White House press conference.

But I want to make it clear, I wasn't then nor am I now articulating a policy change. I was expressing the moral outrage that I feel and I make no apologies for it, he said when asked about his remarks last week in Europe where he had gone to shore up his allies and show solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

"For God's sake, this man (Putin) cannot remain in power," Biden had said on Saturday in Warsaw, more than a month after President Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.

Responding to questions, Biden said the escalatory efforts of Putin to continue and engage in carnage... The kind of behaviour that makes the whole world say, My God, what is this man doing?

"He (Putin) is going to become a pariah worldwide and who knows what he becomes at home in terms of support, said the US president.

Pressed by reporters further, Biden said that a regime change is not the American policy.

He should remain in power just like, you know, bad people shouldn't continue to do bad things. But it doesn't mean we have a fundamental policy to do anything to take Putin down in any way, he asserted.

Biden noted that when he made those remarks, he was talking to the Russian people. The last part of the speech was talking to the Russian people telling him what we thought. I was communicating this to not only the Russian people but the whole world. This just stating a simple fact that this kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable, he said.

Totally unacceptable. The way to deal with it is to strengthen and keep NATO completely united and help Ukraine where we can, he said.

Biden said that the last thing he wants is a "land or a nuclear war with the Russians."

He told reporters that Putin's behaviour has changed after their last meeting in Geneva.

His behaviour changed. When we met, I remember what we were talking about. We're talking about setting up a strategic dialogue and talking about the relationship of NATO in Russia, facing off in the regions, how we can have more transparency and all the rest. It was a normal discussion I had going all the way back to Kosygin and others, back in 100 years ago when I was a young senator, he said.

And so, what changed was nothing remotely approaching. Remember when we first met, he said I have two objectives, this is the second or third time I met with him. He said I have two objectives. One is to make sure that they never become part of NATO, and two to make sure there are no long-range missiles in Ukraine, said the US president.

I said we could deal with the second one easily, but we can't close the door on the first, because when we talk about missiles, we want to talk about what's also on the Russian border heading toward Europe, do both. And then if you notice that demand list of his, well, not with me with others, have escalated significantly in terms of what he thinks is necessary, Biden said.

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