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U.S. Ambassador to NATO: No Policy of ‘Regime Change’ in Russia

But Julianne Smith said Vladimir Putin “cannot be empowered to wage war.”
Julianne Smith speaks at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the U.S.-Russian relationship on Feb. 9, 2017 in Washington, D.C. | Mario Tama/Getty Images
Julianne Smith speaks at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the U.S.-Russian relationship on Feb. 9, 2017 in Washington, D.C. | Mario Tama/Getty Images

“Regime change” in Russia is not American policy, the U.S. ambassador to NATO said Sunday.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Ambassador Julianne Smith said President Joe Biden’s statement Saturday that “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power” was not meant to demand that President Vladimir Putin be toppled in Russia.

After Biden’s speech in Poland, his remarks sparked a round of clarifications and explanations from various American officials, and Biden responded to a shouted question as he was leaving church back in Washington, D.C., on Sunday evening by saying he was not calling for regime change.

On Sunday morning, Smith addressed those remarks as well.

“Let me be clear and just state right off the the bat that the U.S. does not have a policy of regime change toward Russia,” Smith told host John Roberts.

She added: “But I think what we all agree on is that President Putin cannot be empowered to wage war. He has attacked Ukraine in a premeditated, unprovoked conflict.”

When pressed further on Biden’s seemingly off-the-cuff statement, Smith seemed to suggest that the president’s statement might have been an emotional response to his encounters earlier in the day with refugees from the war now in Poland.

“He went to the national stadium in Warsaw and literally met with hundreds of Ukrainian refugees. He listened to their heroic stories about fleeing Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s brutal aggression there, and it was a very moving day,” she said. “We don’t want to see Putin continuing this war.”

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