France’s President Emmanuel Macron has criticized America’s President Joe Biden for calling Vladimir Putin “a butcher” and saying he “cannot remain in power”, warning that the chances of a ceasefire and peace through diplomatic means are undermined by such escalating rhetoric.

President Biden, 79, recently branded the Russian leader “a butcher” in offhand comments to journalists in Poland, later declaiming “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power” at a speech in the country’s capital.


This marked the first time the U.S. leader had issued an apparently unambiguous call for regime change in Moscow — although the White House later argued, somewhat unconvincingly, that “[Biden’s] point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbours or the region,” and that he “was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”

France’s Emmanuel Macron, who is likely the European Union’s leading politician now Angela Merkel has exited the stage as Chancellor of Germany, has now publicly criticised the Democrat’s statements on Putin, suggesting he is escalating tensions and making a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis harder to achieve.

“I would not use those words,” Macron said of Biden’s recent statements in an interview on France 3.

The Frenchman said that “everything must be done to stop the situation from escalating” in order to achieve “first a ceasefire and then the total withdrawal of [Russian] troops by diplomatic means.”

“If we want to do that, we can’t escalate either in words or actions,” he stressed, in a clear rebuke to President Biden’s approach.

The Russians, for their part, dismissed President Biden as a “weak, sick, and unhappy” man after he made his comments, with the President of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, recommending he “undergo a medical examination” — echoing previous remarks from a Kremlin spokesman who said the Democrat suffers from “irritability, fatigue, and forgetfulness, which eventually results in aggressive statements”.



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