JERUSALEM (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - The United States has no strategy of regime change for Russia, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on Sunday (March 27) after President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power".
"I think the President, the White House, made the point last night that, quite simply, President Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else," Mr Blinken said during a visit to Jerusalem.
"As you know, and as you have heard us say repeatedly, we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia - or anywhere else, for that matter."
Speaking in Jerusalem, Mr Blinken said the US is focused on putting unprecedented pressure on Russia while strongly supporting Ukraine.
Mr Biden’s comment on Mr Putin capped an emotional address in Warsaw on Saturday; he earlier labelled Mr Putin a “butcher”.
Daily insults of Mr Putin “narrow the window of opportunity for normalising dialogue, so much needed now, with the current US administration”, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Bloomberg News in response.
While Mr Biden was in neighbouring Poland, Russian shelling hit Lviv in far western Ukraine on Saturday, with television images showing firefighters battling flames near large fuel tanks.
That comes a day after Russia’s military said it is focusing on taking full control of Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region.