‘We’ve said repeatedly…': Blinken says US has no strategy of regime change in Russia
US secretary of state Antony Blinken, who is currently in Israel, made the comment after President Joe Biden's latest attack on his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in which he said the latter “cannot remain in power”.
US secretary of state Antony Blinken on Sunday said the country does not have a strategy to change regime in Russia. His statement comes after US President Joe Biden's “cannot remain in power” comment for his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
“As you know, and as you’ve heard us say, repeatedly, we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia or anywhere else,” Blinken said.
The top US diplomat is currently in Israel - his first stop of a middle-east trip, for the Arab-Israeli summit. He met his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid and later said that the two sides are committed in ensuring Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon. The talks also focused on Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Biden, who was in Poland on Saturday, launched a fiery attack on Putin, calling for the Russian leader's removal for his invasion of Ukraine. “For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power,” he said during his speech in Polish capital Warsaw.
This wasn't the only attack he made on Putin. On Saturday, Biden also met several Ukrainian refugees who have fled to Poland to escape the Russian invasion of their country. Later, when Biden was asked what he thought of Putin, the US President said, “He is a butcher”.
Kremlin has not taken Biden's comments well, saying that insults by the US President “narrow the window of opportunity for normalising dialogue” between the two countries.
Biden's “cannot remain in power” comment was quickly clarified by the White House, with an official saying the US President meant Putin “cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbours or the region". “He was not discussing Putin's power in Russia, or regime change,” the official added.
The official further stated that Biden's line was not present in his prepared remarks wherein the US President said Putin is lying to justify the now two-month-old invasion of Russia's former Soviet neighbour - Ukraine.
On Sunday, Blinken reiterated the clarification, saying that Biden and the White House “made the point last night that quite simply…Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine, or anywhere else”.
Meanwhile, the Russian military said on Friday that its focus now is on taking full control of Ukraine's separatist Donbas region - a statement that comes as Putin's men have so far failed to escalate their territorial gains owing to stiff resistance from the Ukrainian side.
“Our forces will focus on the main thing - the complete liberation of Donbas,” Sergei Rudskoi, first deputy chief of the General Staff said in a televised briefing.
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The Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused the displacement of over 10 million people in east-European country. More than 3.4 million Ukrainians have fled the country.
Earlier in the day, two humanitarian corridors were agreed between the two former Soviet neighbours, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a video statement.
The highest influx of Ukrainian refugees have been in Poland, with the latter reporting 31,000 people crossing the border on Saturday and another 5,200 earlier in the day.
(With inputs from agencies)