Blinken: No regime change plans for Russian

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has denied that the United States has any plans to bring about regime change in Russia or anywhere else.

Mr Blinken’s comments come a day after President Joe Biden said his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, should not be allowed to remain in power.

Mr Biden made the unscripted remark at the end of a speech in Poland.

Mr Blinken said the president simply made the point that Mr Putin could not be allowed to wage war against Ukraine.

The Kremlin dismissed Mr Biden’s remark, saying it was for Russians to choose their leader.

“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 on Sunday during a visit to Israel.

“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.

“In this case, as in any case, it’s up to the people of the country in question, it’s up to the Russian people,” he added.

Mr Biden’s comment prompted strong criticism from veteran US diplomat Richard Haass.

The comments “made a difficult situation more difficult and a dangerous situation more dangerous”, tweeted Mr Haass, who is president of the US Council on Foreign Relations.

“That is obvious,” he added. “Less obvious is how to undo the damage, but I suggest his chief aides reach their counterparts and make clear the US is prepared to deal with this Russian government.”

Mr Haass returned to the subject after the White House qualified President Biden’s remarks, saying: “The White House walk back of @POTUS regime change call is unlikely to wash.

“Putin will see it as confirmation of what he’s believed all along. Bad lapse in discipline that runs risk of extending the scope and duration of the war.” -BBC

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