Biden Says US Does ‘Not Seek To Control Or Destroy’ Russia During Speech In Poland

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Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden delivered remarks on America’s commitment to Ukraine and NATO in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday, pledging to keep the U.S. at the forefront for the battle for democracy.

Biden condemned Russia for launching a war on Ukraine, noted America’s commitment to providing aid and to NATO, and chastised autocrats, especially Russian President Vladimir Putin, for not allowing their citizens to live free.

Since Russia launched a war on Ukraine on Feb. 24, “the democracy of the world has grown stronger, not weaker, but the autocrats of the world have grown weaker, not stronger,” Biden said. “Knowing what you stand for is most important, and knowing who stands with you makes all the difference.”

“Autocrats only understand one word: no; no; no!” the president continued. “Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia.”

He noted the atrocities that Russia has committed in the war, which is nearing its one-year anniversary, and celebrated that Ukraine has fought back before addressing the Russian people.

“Tonight, I speak once more to the people of Russia. The United States and the nations of Europe do not seek to control or destroy Russia. The West was not planning to attack Russia, as Putin said today. Millions of Russian citizens who only want to live in peace with their neighbors are not the enemy,” Biden said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his state of the nation speech hours before Biden’s remarks, blaming Ukraine and the West for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Putin announced Russia would be suspending its participation in the New START Treaty and claimed Western countries are attacking Russia’s “culture,” Al Jazeera reported.

“We did not set the speech up as some kind of head-to-head. This is not a rhetorical contest with anyone else,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.

US President Joe Biden waves as he leaves the stage after he delivered a speech in front the Royal Warsaw Castle Gardens in Warsaw, Poland on February 21, 2023. – US President Joe Biden said support for wartorn Ukraine “will not waver” as he delivered a speech in Poland ahead of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion. (Photo by Wojtek Radwanski / AFP) (Photo by WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Biden’s trip to Poland is “important for the American people” because “what is at stake here is more than just the success and survival of the nation of Ukraine, but the rules-based international order, fundamental principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the fundamental values of independence, democracy, freedom that matters so much to everyday American people,” Sullivan told reporters before Biden’s speech.

Before his remarks, Biden met with Polish President Andrzej Duda and spoke about U.S.-Polish commitments to Ukraine and NATO. (RELATED: Biden Meets With Polish President, Says US ‘Needs Poland And NATO As Much As Poland And NATO Need The United States’)

“The United States needs Poland and NATO as much as Poland and NATO need the United States,” Biden said. “I would argue a year later that NATO is stronger than it’s ever been.”

On Wednesday, Biden is slated to visit with U.S. embassy staff, leaders of the Bucharest Nine, NATO allies and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.