Blinken: US not seeking Russian regime change

Jerusalem, Mar 27:Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the US is not trying to topple Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite its harsh condemnations of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Blinken spoke a day after President Joe Biden said of Putin during a speech in Warsaw: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”
At a news conference in Jerusalem, Blinken said Biden’s point was that “Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else.”
He said the US has repeatedly said that “we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia, or anywhere else for that matter.”
“In this case, as in any case, it’s up to the people of the country in question. It’s up to the Russian people,” Blinken said.

Kyiv: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has again urged the West to provide Ukraine with warplanes and air defense missiles.
Speaking in a video address early Sunday, Zelenskyy said that “our partners have all that, and it’s just collecting dust. And in fact it’s necessary not just for Ukraine’s freedom, but for the freedom of Europe.”
Zelenskyy warned that the Baltic states, Poland and Slovakia could eventually face a Russian attack “just because they will have kept in their hangars just 1% of all NATO warplanes and 1% of all NATO tanks. Just 1%! We aren’t asking for more and we have been waiting for that for 31 days!” He said that “our partners must step up their aid to Ukraine.”
The president said that “Ukraine can’t shoot down Russian missiles with shotguns and machine guns that have accounted for the bulk of supplies. And we can’t unblock Mariupol without the necessary number of tanks, other armor, and warplanes.
All defenders of Ukraine know about it.” He added that the United States and “all European politicians” also know that.

Doha: The head of the International Monetary Fund is warning that the global economic strain caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine could stoke civil unrest in the Middle East and beyond.
Speaking at the Doha Forum in Qatar on Sunday, Kristalina Georgieva said Russia’s invasion and the resulting sanctions on Moscow have forced the world’s poorest to bear the worst of the crisis as they grapple with inflated food costs and scarcer jobs.
Georgieva hinted that the current situation evoked the lead-up to the 2011 uprisings known as the Arab Spring, when skyrocketing bread prices fuelled anti-government protests across the Middle East.
“When prices jump, and poor people cannot feed their families, they will be on the streets,” she said. “One thing we know about trouble in one place, it travels, it doesn’t stay there.”
Georgieva called for greater global cooperation to fill the gaps in commodity and energy supplies.
“Please, work together,” she said.
“Oil producers, gas producers and food producers today are in a position to help reduce this uncertainty.”
She cited Ukraine’s importance as a top wheat exporter in urging a swift resolution to the war.
“The faster the tanks are out, the faster the tractors will be in,” she said. “We need by July the harvest in Ukraine to contribute to the stability of food prices.” (AP)