A former US Defence Secretary has claimed President Joe Biden made a mistake when talking about regime change in Russia because he is Irish.
Leon Panetta, who is also a former director of the CIA, was speaking after President Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin 'cannot remain in power'.
Speaking in Warsaw at the weekend, Mr Biden said: "Brutality will never grind down the will to be free. Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia."
"For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power," he added at the end of his speech.
He also called Mr Putin a "butcher", describing him as "a dictator" and saying stopping the war in Ukraine is "the task of our time".
The White House later denied he was calling for regime change.
And President Biden has since said he was "expressing the moral outrage that I felt toward this man. I wasn't articulating a policy change."
Asked why he believed President Biden made the comment, Panetta told CNN on Monday: "I happen to think that Joe Biden is Irish, really has a great deal of compassion when he sees that people are suffering.
"And I think it overwhelmed him, in the sense of seeing all of the horrors that were resulting from this war.
"So, from a personal point of view, I understand why he said it.
"But, at the same time, when you're president of the United States, you just have to be disciplined to make sure you don't make comments that ultimately have to be clarified by the White House."
Meanwhile another round of face-to-face peace talks between Russia and Ukraine are due to get underway in Turkey on Tuesday.
Negotiations were delayed from Monday, with the talks the first to take place in two weeks.
Ukraine says its top priority is to negotiate a ceasefire, but both sides are playing down hopes of a breakthrough.
The talks will take place despite claims a Russian oligarch and two Ukrainian representatives were victims of a chemical attack during negotiations earlier in the month.
Three men - including Roman Abramovich - suffered symptoms including red eyes, constant and painful tearing, and peeling skin on their hands and faces after a meeting on Ukrainian territory reportedly on March 3rd.
Mr Abramovich reportedly lost his sight for several hours.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has now warned people not to "eat or drink" when negotiating with Russia.
"I advise anyone going for negotiations with the Russian Federation not to eat or drink anything.
"And, preferably, avoid touching any surface."
However, the US has cast doubt on the claims - with an official saying the "intelligence highly suggests" the cause was environmental, "not poisoning".
Additional reporting: IRN