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Biden calls Putin a ‘murderous dictator’ and ‘pure thug’

Speaking at the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon on St. Patrick’s Day at Capitol Hill, Biden said Putin is “a murderous dictator, a pure thug who is waging an immoral war against the people of Ukraine.”

And earlier Thursday, in a meeting with Micheál Martin, the Taoiseach of Ireland, the President also zeroed in on the Russian leader, saying, “Putin’s brutality and what he’s doing and his troops are doing in Ukraine is just inhumane.”

The comments came a day after Biden called Putin a war criminal — a significant escalation in his rhetoric condemning the Russian leader’s actions against Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday Biden’s comments were “absolutely unacceptable and inexcusable.”
Also on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s emotional address to Congress. Hours later, Biden laid out new American military assistance to Ukraine, which includes weapons and drones, as well as anti-aircraft and anti-armor systems, stopping short of some of Zelensky’s requests, such as the implementation of a no-fly zone.
Biden on Thursday credited lawmakers at the luncheon for coming together across party lines to pass the assistance package, which was part of a larger spending bill the President signed into law this week.

He said the group “should have more times like this where Democrats, Republicans get together.”

“We actually not only agree on one thing, but we remind ourselves we actually like each other. It’s a useful thing,” he said.

Throughout Thursday’s events focused on the holiday, the President emphasized the strength of the relationship between Ireland — which has never joined NATO — and the United States, saying during the luncheon that the relationship was “taking on an even more intense and cooperative forum than it ever has because of Ireland’s neutrality.”

Biden said Ireland is “stepping up” in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine.

“Ireland and the United States and working together for the first time now,” Biden said. “They’re on the United Nations Security Council … and the European Union. And Putin is paying a big price for his aggression, and they are part of the reason the cost is going so high.”

“Everybody talks about how Germany having stepped up and changed their notions about being more leaning forward, and they have,” he continued. “And so has Ireland. A neutral country, Ireland has stepped up, and they’re taking the hit for what they’re doing.”

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