Speed Reads

in agreement

Former Ukrainian President Yushchenko says Biden's Putin comment was 'absolutely correct'

President Biden made international waves over the weekend after an unplanned remark in a Saturday speech went viral for appearing to call for regime change in Russia.

"A dictator bent on rebuilding an empire will never erase a people's love for liberty," Biden said, alluding to Russian President Vladimir Putin. "For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power." The White House later walked back the president's comment, making clear he was "not discussing Putin's power in Russia, or regime change."

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, however, on Monday told CNN's John Berman that he was pleased to hear Biden's ad lib arrive when it did.

"I think Ukraine and Ukrainians were waiting for a long time for such a statement," Yushchenko said. "I think this statement is absolutely correct as to the challenges of our times."

"Before, there were some words and statements [that] were not particularly diplomatic as to Putin and his regime, but I totally share this side of the story," he went on. "When President Biden says Putin is evil. I think that this is a very correct statement."

Yushchenko accused Russia of poisoning him during his 2004 presidential campaign.

Yushchenko also told Berman he believes Putin is "panicking," and now "wouldn't be surprised" if the Russian president decides to use chemical or nuclear weapons against Ukraine. Roughly three weeks ago, Yushchenko said he didn't think Putin would resort to the nuclear option.