Nadhim Zahawi says fate of Putin is ‘up to the Russian people’
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said whether to overthrow Mr Putin for his invasion of Ukraine is “up to the Russian people” after the US President’s apparently unscripted call caused the White House to scramble to row back on the remark. In a highly-charged speech in Warsaw, Mr Biden appealed to Russian people directly, with comparisons between the invasion of Ukraine and the horrors of the Second World War. “For God’s sake this man cannot remain in power,” he said of the Russian president at the close of his speech. He earlier described Mr Putin as a “butcher”.
As multiple rockets struck the city of Lviv near the Polish border in the west of Ukraine, Mr Biden pleaded: “If you’re able to listen – you, the Russian people, are not our enemy.”
But a White House official tried to argue that the US president’s point was that the Russian leader “cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbours or the region”.
“He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change,” the official said, before reports in the US suggested the remarks in question had not been scripted.
Interviewed on Sunday, Mr Zahawi said it is “for the Russian people to decide how they are governed” but suggested they “would certainly do well” to have someone who “is democratic and understands their wishes”.
“I think that’s up to the Russian people,” he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
“The Russian people, I think, are pretty fed up with what is happening in Ukraine, this illegal invasion, the destruction of their own livelihoods, their economy is collapsing around them and I think the Russian people will decide the fate of Putin and his cronies.”
But he declined to criticise Mr Biden, unlike Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative MP who chairs the Commons Defence Committee, who said Mr Putin will now “spin this, dig in and fight harder”.
Asked if Mr Biden was wrong to issue the call, Mr Zahawi replied: “No, what I’m saying to you is the White House has been very clear on this, the president gave a very powerful speech on this and I think both the United States and the United Kingdom agree that it’s up to the Russian people to decide who should be governing them.”
Joe Biden calls Putin a 'butcher' after visiting Ukrainian refugees
It comes as the White House scrambled to row back Joe Biden’s declaration that Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power”, insisting he was not calling for a regime change.
A White House official tried to argue that the US president’s point was that the Russian leader “cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbours or the region”.
“He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change,” the official added, before reports in the US suggested the remarks in question had not been scripted.
Mr Biden warned “we need to steel ourselves for the long fight ahead” as he conceded the battle will not be “won in days, or months either”.
Gaffe-prone Joe Biden leaves White House reeling after Putin remark [INSIGHT]
Piers Morgan attacks Biden for ‘mocking’ journalist in Ukraine debate [ANALYSIS]
Putin warned US against breaking ‘international law’ before Ukraine [VIDEO]
He told European nations they must end “dependence on Russian fossil fuels”, but said sanctions had been sapping Russia’s strength and have reduced the rouble “to rubble”.
In the UK, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said sanctions on oligarchs, banks and businesses could be lifted if Mr Putin ends the war and commits to “no further aggression”.
With the Kremlin’s troops struggling, her comments will be seen as a possible incentive for Mr Putin to cut his losses and broker a deal with Ukraine.
She told the Sunday Telegraph: “Those sanctions should only come off with a full ceasefire and withdrawal, but also commitments that there will be no further aggression.
“And also, there’s the opportunity to have snapback sanctions if there is further aggression in future. That is a real lever that I think can be used.”
Source: Read Full Article