Biden: ‘Putin Can and Must End This War’ But Offers No Next Steps Aside From Putin-Must-Go & More Renewable Energy

President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland on March 26, 2022. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland on March 26, 2022. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

( – In his sternly delivered speech in Warsaw, Poland on Saturday, President Joe Biden spoke at length about « cruelty and brutality » of Russia’s « unjust war » in Ukraine.

But aside from saying Putin « cannot remain in power » and « Europe must end its dependence on Russian fossil fuels, » the president made no suggestions about how the war might end.

He did urge free people to « steel ourselves for the long fight ahead. »

Biden framed Putin’s war in Ukraine as a « battle for freedom » — « a battle between democracy and autocracy, between liberty and repression, between a rules-based order and one governed by brute force. In this battle, we need to be clear-eyed, » Biden said, invoking the « long, painful slog » to overcome « Soviet repression. »

« This battle will not be won in days or months either. We need to steel ourselves for the long fight ahead. »

Biden talked about his efforts to avert Putin’s war: « I met with him in person and talked to him many times on the phone. Time and again, we offered real diplomacy and concrete proposals to strengthen European security, enhance transparency, and build confidence on all sides, » he said.

« But Putin and Russia met each of the proposals with disinterest in any negotiation, with lies and ultimatums. Russia was bent on violence from the start. »

Biden did not call for new talks, repeat his earlier concrete proposals, or offer any particular path to peace aside from what he’s already done – sanctions on Russia and military equipment to Ukraine:

« Swift and punishing costs are the only things that are going to get Russia to change its course, » he said, describing punitive U.S. and NATO sanctions, which — he admitted — have cut off the Russian people from the rest of the world. (He assured the Russian people, « You, the Russian people, are not our enemy. »)

Biden also noted the « incredible levels of military, economic, and humanitarian assistance » the U.S. and NATO have sent — and are still sending — to Ukraine.

Biden told the people of Ukraine, « We stand with you. »

Biden talked about the unity and resolve of the NATO alliance. « Let us resolve to put the strength of democracies into action to thwart the…designs of autocracy. Let us remember that the test of this moment is the test of all time. »

Biden talked emotionally about the plight of Ukrainian refugees, the generosity of the Polish people, and humanitarian relief.

Biden told the people of Europe that Putin’s war « has already made a few things crystal clear. First, Europe must end its dependence on Russian fossil fuels…

« …Over the long term, as a matter of economic security and national security and for the survivability of the planet, we all need to move as quickly as possible to clean, renewable energy.  And we’ll work together to help get that done so that the days of any nation being subject to the whims of a tyrant for its energy needs are over. They must end. They must end. 

« And second, we have to fight the corruption coming from the Kremlin to give the Russian people a fair chance. And finally, and most urgently, we maintain absolute unity — we must — among the world’s democracies. »

In one of the last lines of his speech, unscripted, Biden appeared to offer his only war-ending thought: « For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power. »

Once again, as it has done on numerous occasions, the Biden White House was called upon to clarify the president’s meaning:

« 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, » a White House official reportedly wrote in a statement.

At a news conference in Jerusalem on Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken explained Biden’s meaning: « Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else, » Blinken said. « We do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia, or anywhere else for that matter. »  Blinken said « it’s up to the Russian people » to decide whether Putin stays or goes.

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