Biden says Putin “cannot remain in power” to Ukrainian Leaders. 

At the occasion of this visit, Mr. Biden and his staff was greeted by the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dymtro Kuleba and Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov at Marriott Hotel for 40 minutes. This initial conference was followed by a one-on-one meeting with the Polish President Andrzej Duda.[2]

This Saturday, March 26, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. met senior Ukrainian leaders in his first visit to Eastern Europe since the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation five weeks ago. The meeting was an important step in confirming continued and ‘Unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity’ by the U.S., as an official State Department statement put it.[1]

The current war in Ukraine marks a watershed moment in the twenty-first century history, and as such, President Biden’s visit to Poland and the concluding address in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw might very well be remembered as historic speeches at par with Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and Kennedy’s speech in Berlin.

At the occasion of this visit, Mr. Biden and his staff was greeted by the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dymtro Kuleba and Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov at Marriott Hotel for 40 minutes. This initial conference was followed by a one-on-one meeting with the Polish President Andrzej Duda.[2] This visit comes as a strong statement to Russia, not only because of the former Communist country’s stronger-than-ever affiliation with the NATO, but also because Poland is bearing the brunt of the Ukrainian refugee crisis so far, with open arms.

The key address was not very long, but offered a very compelling narration of the events of the past few decades. The 79-year old President tried to add perspective to the situation, suggesting continuity between the Cold War between the Eastern Bloc and the liberal world. He identified the battle as one “Between democracy and Autocracy, between liberty and repression, between a rule-based order and one governed by brute force”. The 46th President of the most powerful nation in the Western hemisphere warned that this struggle “Will not be won in days or months”. Directly addressing the Russian people, Biden made clear that “[You] are not the enemy”.[3] The address’ significance was only magnified by the fact that the functioning capital of Ukraine Lviv was being bombarded by rockets at the same time as the U.S. President was speaking to refugees from the country.[4]

The stirring address was followed by a visit to a major refugee centre at the National Stadium. Biden was seen empathising with the children there, comparing their experiences to his own. The President’s son Beau was serving as a soldier in Iraq when he took the oath of the office of Vice President in 2008.[5]

Unfortunately, most media coverage of the visit was obsessively focused on a single statement by the U.S. President. The address was concluded with an apparently off-script moment, when Mr. Biden exclaimed: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power”. The statement was later clarified by the White House as not endorsing regime change in Russia, but a simple condemnation of Putin’s disregard for the international order.[6] Biden later responded to a question by reports by stating: “He [President Vladimir Putin] is a butcher”.


[1] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/26/biden-extra-military-support-ukraine-russian-troops-putin.

[2] https://nypost.com/2022/03/26/biden-meets-with-polish-president-ukrainian-officials-in-warsaw/.

[3] https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/the-power-of-biden-s-warsaw-speech-gets-lost-in-nine-words/ar-AAVyyoh?ocid=uxbndlbing.

[4] https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/rocket-attacks-hit-ukraine-s-lviv-as-biden-visits-poland-1.5836062.

[5] https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/945023-biden-meets-top-ukrainian-ministers-in-warsaw-calls-putin-a-butcher.

[6] https://edition.cnn.com/2022/03/26/politics/biden-warsaw-saturday/index.html.

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