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Biden says comments on Putin expressed 'moral outrage' not policy change

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President Joe Biden on Monday said he was expressing "moral outrage" when he said Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power" and that the comments did not signal a change in U.S. policy. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/1df1e0b6ca6e447a0e8bc513c1962871/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
President Joe Biden on Monday said he was expressing "moral outrage" when he said Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power" and that the comments did not signal a change in U.S. policy. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

March 28 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Monday asserted that he was not announcing a change in U.S. policy when he said Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power" but was instead expressing "moral outrage."

Biden said that he was "not walking anything back" when asked if he meant what he said in comments he made during a speech in Warsaw on Saturday, adding he was suggesting Putin's actions in Russia's ongoing war with Ukraine may cause him to lose support among the Russian people and the international community.

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"I was expressing just what I said. I was expressing the moral outrage I felt toward this man. I wasn't articulating a policy change," he said. "And I think that if he continues on the course he's on he is going to become a pariah worldwide, and who knows what he'd become at home, in terms of support."

Biden said he was addressing the Russian people in the comments at the end of his speech, which were not included in his prepared remarks, adding that they were his own "personal feelings" after he had met with Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw.

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"This is just stating a simple fact that this kind of behavior is totally unacceptable and the way to deal with it is to strengthen and keep NATO completely aligned to help Ukraine where we can," he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday warned Biden to avoid "escalation of words and actions," noting that he continues to hold negotiations with Putin.

On Monday, Biden denied that his comments have had a negative effect on efforts toward diplomacy in Ukraine, nor had they weakened NATO.

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"NATO has never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever been as strong as it is today," he said.

He further placed the blame on Putin for making negotiations to end the war more difficult.

"The fact is that we're in a situation where what complicates the situation at the moment is the escalatory efforts of Putin to continue to engage in carnage the kind of behavior that makes the whole world say, 'My God, what is this man doing?' That's what complicates things a great deal."

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday said Biden's comments were "certainly causing concern" while asserting that the leader of Russia is "not to be decided by Mr. Biden."

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"We will continue to closely monitor the statements of the U.S. president. We carefully note them and will continue to do so," he said.

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