Biden calls Putin ‘a butcher’ as he meets Ukrainian refugees, Kremlin hits back
Ukraine-Russia war: US President Joe Biden held a surprise meeting with top Ukrainian ministers in Poland, where he and his team discussed how they could further aid the war-torn country.
United States President Joe Biden on Saturday said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was a "butcher". He made the comment while meeting refugees fleeing Russia's war in Ukraine in Poland's capital Warsaw.
According to reports, when Biden was asked what he thought of Putin, the US President said, "He's a butcher."
The Kremlin said Biden's comments narrowed the prospects for mending ties between the two countries, according to TASS news agency.
More than 10 million people in Ukraine have been displaced since Russia began its military offensive in the east European nation over a month ago. More than 3.4 million have fled the country, including more than two million who have arrived in Poland.
Live updates on Ukraine-Russia war
Earlier in the day, Biden held a surprise meeting with top Ukrainian officials in Poland, where he and his team discussed how they could further aid the war-torn country.
He joined a meeting between Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba and defence minister Oleksii Reznikov and their US counterparts -- secretary of state Antony Blinken and defence secretary Lloyd Austin. A White House statement said he dropped in about an hour after it began and remained for about 40 minutes.
Biden spoke to the Ukrainian officials about “US efforts to rally the world in support of Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression” and the two sides “discussed further efforts to help Ukraine defend its territory,” the White House said.
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Biden further said he was not sure if Russia had changed its strategy in its invasion of Ukraine, after Moscow said its focus was now to completely "liberate" the breakaway eastern Donbass region.
"I am not sure they have," Biden said when asked by a reporter if Russia had changed its strategy.
Biden also met with Polish President Andrzej Duda and told him that the US regarded its NATO obligation to defend Poland in the event of attack as a “sacred commitment.” Duda said Poland was interested in purchasing more US weaponry, and raised the prospect of cooperating further to produce US military hardware in his nation.
“We are a serious partner, we are a credible ally,” Duda told Biden in translated remarks.
(With inputs from agencies)