BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says that neither NATO nor U.S. President Joe Biden aim to bring about regime change in Russia.
Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a speech on Saturday that “this man cannot remain in power.” The White House and other U.S. officials rushed to clarify that Biden wasn’t actually calling for Putin to be toppled.
Asked during an appearance Sunday on ARD television whether Putin’s removal is in fact the real aim, Scholz replied: “This is not the aim of NATO, and also not that of the American president.”
Scholz added: “We both agree completely that regime change is not an object and aim of policy that we pursue together.”
Asked whether Biden made a dangerous mistake with his comment, Scholz replied: “No.” He said that “he said what he said” and Secretary of State Antony Blinken also had clarified that he wasn’t talking about regime change.
Scholz last month announced a big increase in German defense spending. On Sunday, he confirmed a report by the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that the government is considering acquiring a missile defense shield along the lines of Israel’s “Iron Dome.”