Updated Mar 26, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden says Putin "cannot remain in power"

President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland on March 26, 2022.

President Biden delivers a speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, on March 26. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power" during a speech in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland.

Driving the news: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power," Biden said to a crowd gathered in Warsaw. While meeting with refugees earlier, he told reporters that Putin was "a butcher."

A White House official said after Biden's remarks: "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."

What he's saying: Biden invoked a message of solidarity with Ukraine: "We stand with you. Period," he said.

  • "We must remain unified today and tomorrow and the day after. ... It will not be easy. There will be cost, but it's a price we have to pay because the darkness that drives autocracy is only no match for the flame of liberty that lights the souls of free people everywhere," Biden added.
  • "In the perennial struggle for democracy and freedom, Ukraine and its people are on the front lines, fighting to save their nation and their brave resistance is part of a larger fight for essential democratic principles that unite all free people."

The big picture: Biden's speech comes on the last day of the president's trip to Europe, where he met with NATO allies and European Union leaders to offer support for Ukraine one month after Russia began its invasion.

  • Biden earlier on Saturday met with Ukrainian refugees and Polish President Andrzej Duda, to whom Biden expressed his commitment to protecting NATO allies as "a sacred obligation."
  • "I'm always surprised by ... the depth and strength of the human spirit," Biden told reporters after meeting with Ukrainian refugees, per the White House.
  • "Each one of those children said something to the effect, 'Say a prayer for my dad, for my grandfather, for my brother who’s back there fighting,'" Biden said.

State of play: The war, now in its fourth week, has led more than 3.7 million refugees to flee Ukraine in what the UN refugee agency has labeled the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

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