US President Biden finds clear words for his Russian counterpart Putin about the war of aggression in Ukraine. In a speech in Warsaw, Biden even went a step further.
US President Joe Biden has given the Ukraine– war invoked the value of democracy and at the same time questioned whether the Russian head of state, Vladimir Putin, would stay in power. “For God’s sake, this man cannot stay in power,” said Biden in a speech in front of a historic backdrop in the courtyard of Warsaw’s Royal Castle on Saturday evening.
Biden’s appearance in the Polish capital marked the end of his European tour, marked by Russia’s war of aggression against the Ukraine was standing. Russia has “strangled” democracy and is trying to do the same elsewhere, Biden said. “A dictator who seeks to rebuild an empire will never quench a people’s love of freedom.”
Thousands of people gathered in and around the Royal Castle in Warsaw on Saturday afternoon to hear Biden’s speech. It was also broadcast in front of the castle. Applause erupted again and again. Many people stopped Ukrainian Flags in hands, some also waving the US flag. The US President has repeatedly referred to Putin as a “dictator” or “tyrant”. Only at the very end of his speech did he say the decisive sentence about Putin’s power.
The White House immediately backtracked. A senior White House official took pains to stress that the president’s statement was not directly calling for Putin’s ouster. “The President’s message was that Putin must not be allowed to have power over his neighbors or the region. He didn’t talk about Putin’s power in Russia or the overthrow of the government,” he said. There was speculation as to whether Biden’s sentence was previously in the speech manuscript or whether the 79-year-old added it spontaneously.
Biden also warned Putin in emphatic terms against an attack on NATO territory. “Don’t even think about taking action against an inch of NATO territory.” The USA and its NATO partners have a “sacred obligation” to defend the alliance’s territory with the combined power of all members. “We stand by you,” said the US President to the people in the Ukraine directed. “Never give up hope, don’t get tired, don’t be discouraged and don’t be afraid”. At the same time, he swore the world into a long conflict over the future international order. It is about a “great battle between democracy and autocracy”.
Warsaw as a symbolic place
Biden did not choose just any place in Warsaw for his speech. The Warsaw Royal Castle is a symbol of the city that was largely destroyed by Nazi Germany in World War II and later rebuilt. After his trip to Brussels, Biden was late on Friday Poland traveled on. The neighboring state of Ukraine looks with great concern at Russia’s aggression. Poland wear with a view to the refugees from the Ukraine the brunt, it said before Biden’s trip from the White House. Almost 2.27 million people from the Ukraine have entered Poland so far. There is currently no official information on how many of them stayed in Poland and how many have already traveled to other countries.
Before his speech, Biden visited the National Stadium in Warsaw to get an impression of the relief effort for refugees and to take part himself Ukrainians to speak. Here, too, he found clear words for Putin and called him a “butcher”.
Before that, political talks were on Biden’s program – for example with Polish President Andrzej Duda. In the morning, Biden also had a discussion with him Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov discussed. They had met their respective US counterparts in Warsaw. Biden’s participation in ministerial-level talks is unusual – and suggested Biden was sending a message of solidarity to the Ukraine wanted to send.
Before his trip to Poland, there was also the question of whether Biden would find critical words for Poland’s government. Most recently, the US government clearly classified a planned media law, which President Duda ultimately vetoed, as a threat to media freedom. Biden did not go directly on the offensive, but indirectly addressed the topic. In his speech, Biden spoke about the essential principles of a “free society” and also mentioned freedom of the press. At this point in his speech, the applause in the Warsaw Royal Castle was particularly intense. “All of us, including here in Poland, have to do the hard work of democracy every day. Also in my country.”
Biden finally returned to the United States on Saturday evening. This ended his two-day trip to the NATO partner country. On Friday, the US President traveled to Rzeszow in southeastern Poland and visited US troops stationed there. The city is only around 90 kilometers from the Ukrainian border removed.