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President Joe Biden on Saturday framed the war in Ukraine as the battle of a generation in the fight for democracy as he sought to rally the world’s support behind the embattled nation.
Speaking in Warsaw, Poland, before a crowd that included Ukrainian refugees, Biden also blasted Russian President Vladimir Putin and called on the Russian people to choose a different path for their own country, and urged Europe to end its dependence on Russian gas.
In a comment during the speech, which a source familiar with the situation said was not part of prepared remarks, Biden said Putin “cannot remain in power.”
“That’s not for Biden to decide,” Putin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Reuters.
The White House quickly responded to say Biden was not discussing a regime change, and instead meant Putin “cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region.”
Hours earlier, several rockets struck the western Ukrainian city of Lviv in what officials said were two separate attacks 45 miles from the border with Poland.
The powerful explosions frightened a city that had been a haven for hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the Russian assault on other parts of Ukraine.
The regional governor, Maxym Kozytsky, said on Facebook that preliminary indications were five people had been injured in the first attack but did not specify what the two rockets hit. Hours later, he reported three more explosions outside the city, again with no details.
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