West not looking to destroy Russia, Biden tells Putin

(Update: adds Biden speech, changes headline, lede, minor edits)

Warsaw, Feb 21 (EFE).- US president Joe Biden denied that the West was looking to control or destroy Russia, as president Vladimir Putin had claimed during a major speech in Moscow earlier on Tuesday.

Addressing a crowd outside Warsaw Castle in the Polish capital on Tuesday evening, Biden also thanked Poland for the “extraordinary” support the country had shown in its neighbor by taking in 1.5 millions Ukrainian refugees since February 24 last year, the day Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine.

“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,” Biden said, adding that “every day the war continues is his choice.”

As he had already previewed on Monday on his visit to Kyiv, Biden said the US would impose more sanctions against Russia this week and promised that those who have committed crimes against humanity during the war would be held accountable.

“This has been an extraordinary year in every way: extraordinary brutality from Russian forces and mercenaries. They’ve committed crimes against humanity without shame or compunction. They’ve targeted civilians with death and destruction,” Biden said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Biden had met with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, and thanked Poland for the “truly extraordinary” support it has provided Ukraine in harboring 1.5 million refugees.

The US president also lauded the strength of Nato ahead of the first anniversary of the start of the war being marked later this week.

Biden and Duda met at the presidential palace in Warsaw accompanied by members of their respective governments.

“The United States needs Poland and Nato as much as Nato needs the United States,” Biden said, in a message intended to show Washington’s commitment to the defense of Poland, which shares a 530 kilometer-long border with Ukraine.

Almost a year after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Biden insisted that “Nato is stronger than it’s ever been”. EFE


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