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Biden says of Putin: 'For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power'

US President Joe Biden delivers a speech about the Russian war in Ukraine at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland on March 26, 2022. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
President Biden delivers a speech on Saturday in Warsaw, Poland, about the Russian war in Ukraine.

Speaking in Warsaw, Poland, on Saturday, President Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin: "For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power."

Shortly after Biden spoke, a White House official downplayed Biden's remarks that appeared to be a call to remove Putin.

"The President's point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin's power in Russia, or regime change," the White House official said.

After meeting with Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Biden gave a formal address to a crowd in front of Warsaw's Royal Castle, opening with words from the Polish Pope John Paul II: "Be not afraid."

Biden's visit to Poland to meet with both Ukrainian and Polish officials comes just over a month after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. He committed to continuing to aid the fight against Russia.

"This battle will not be won in days or months either. We need to steel ourselves for the long fight ahead," Biden said.

The White House says around 1,000 people attended the speech, including members of parliament, U.S. Embassy staff and Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Biden spoke about the U.S. sanctions on Russia and said they have damaged the Russian economy.

"The ruble was reduced to rubble," he said. Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.