- President Joe Biden said the Russian people “are not our enemy” at a speech from Warsaw, Poland.
- World leaders had gathered to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia has been accused of war crimes.
- Biden said Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power,” but he stopped short of calling for a regime change.
President Joe Biden on Saturday said that the Russian people “are not our enemy” during a speech in Europe — pleading with the Russian people to oppose Vladimir Putin’s ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“I’ve always spoken directly and honestly to you, the Russian people. Let me say this if you’re able to listen: You, the Russian people, are not our enemy,” Biden said from the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland.
He added: “I refuse to believe that you welcome the killing of innocent children and grandparents or that you accept hospitals, schools, maternity wards – for God’s sake – being pummeled with Russian missiles and bombs.”
During Biden’s visit in Warsaw, several rockets struck the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, just 45 miles away from Poland.
During his speech on Saturday, Biden called on Russians who lived through the Soviet Union to speak out against Putin’s invasion, saying his actions are “not the actions of a great nation.” There have been several demonstrations across Russia against the invasion of Ukraine, including in Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg. Police in Russia, however, has cracked down on critics of the war and journalists reporting on the invasion.
“This is not who you are. This is not the future you deserve for your families and your children. I’m telling you the truth. This war is not worthy of you, the Russian people,” Biden said.
He added that Putin “cannot remain in power,” but the White House later denied that Biden was calling for a regime change.