Biden decries Putin’s rule during Warsaw address
Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot remain in power, and his war against Ukraine has been a strategic failure for Moscow, US President Joe Biden said on Saturday. At the end of a two-day trip to Poland, Bìden adressed a crowd in Warsaw and described Putin as “a butcher” and “a dictator”, adding, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” The unusually-strong rhetoric was quickly played down by the White House, which said the president was not calling for regime change in Russia: “The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbours or the region,” the official said. “He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.” During his oftentimes fiery speech, Biden warned Russia against stepping foot on Nato soil but said American forces were stationed in Europe to defend Nato allies, not to engage with Russian forces.During the speech that was broadcast on Polish TV, Biden also said he was “struck by the generosity of all the Polish people, opening their hearts and their homes” to help Ukrainian refugees.
Kremlin complains about Biden’s ‘temper’
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov complained about President Joe Biden’s temper on Saturday after the American commander-in-chief described Russian President Vladimir Putin as “a butcher”. Speaking to Russia’s Tass news agency about Biden’s comments, Peskov said that “a state leader should keep their temper”, warning that “each time, such personal insults narrow the window of opportunity for our bilateral relations under the current [US] administration. It is necessary to be aware of this.” Earlier, when the Kremlin was asked about the US president’s remark that Putin “cannot remain in power”, a spokesperson said “that’s not for Biden to decide. The president of Russia is elected by Russians”. The Kremlin official pointed out that Biden had previously voiced support for US bombings of other countries (like Yugoslavia) saying that “it is at least weird to hear such a thing from him”.
Sheltering Ukrainians in Poland
Earlier, Biden dropped in on talks between US, Polish and Ukrainian government officials about the global response to the conflict. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin attended the meeting along with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov. The officials discussed “the US’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters. The US president also accompanied Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski to Warsaw’s National Stadium, where Ukrainian refugees are being registered and provided with aid. Poland has taken in more than 2.2 million out of an estimated 3.5 million refugees who have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began more than a month ago. Biden’s visit to Poland follows his appearance at Nato, EU and G7 summits in Brussels on Thursday.
Zelensky urges Nato weaponry be deployed in Ukraine
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has meanwile urged his country’s European “partners” to deploy one per cent of all Nato aircraft, tanks and weaponry for the country’s defence. Speaking on strengthening the “common security” of all European countries, Zelensky stressed that the “price of this security” includes planes, tanks, anti-missile defense systems and anti-ship weaponry for Ukraine, which were “covered with dust at their storage facilities”. Zelensky said it was “impossible to unblock” Mariupol without a sufficient number of tanks, other armoured vehicles and aircraft, and there are many civilians who are dying in the blockade.
Japan sees real risk of Russia using nuclear power
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said the probability of Russia using nuclear weapons was“becoming more real”. During a visit to Hiroshima with Rahm Emanuel, the US Ambassador to Japan, Kishida said, “The horrors of nuclear weapons must never be repeated.” On his part, Emanuel said, “We live in unprecedented times when Russia threatens the use of nuclear weapons, something that was once unthinkable, even unspeakable. The history of Hiroshima teaches us that it is unreasonable for any nation to make such a threat.”
Russians explosions near Lviv
CNN reports there were three explosions near Lviv by the Russians, which prompted the mayor of the city inviting the population to find shelter. Meanwhile, the mayor of Chernihiv said the city was completely destroyed, and over 200 civilians havd been killed since the invasion began. The city north of Ukraine, near the border with Belarus, has been isolated for days due to the destruction of a road bridge over the Desna river, crucial for connections with Kyiv. Vladyslav Atroshenko told Ukraine Pravda evacuations were impossible.
Football: Eriksen scores on Denmark return
Denmark’s Christian Eriksen made an emotional goal-scoring return to international football on Saturday following his suffering a cardiac arrest in Denmark’s opening game of the European Championships against Finland in Copenhagen last June. Eriksen found the net two minutes after coming on with a powerful drive in a 4-2 defeat against fellow World Cup qualifiers Netherlands in Amsterdam. It was his first national team appearance since the incident which left spectators and TV viewers stunned. On Saturday, to the resounding applause of fans and even Dutch manager Louis van Gaal, the 30-year-old came off the bench and raised his hands to the sky in thanks. His goal was 37th in 110 appearances. It was fitting he scored in the Amsterdam Arena, the home of Ajax. Eriksen came through the ranks at the Dutch side, making 162 appearances for the club and winning five trophies, including three consecutive league titles between 2011 and 2013.