Russian strongman Vladimir Putin will not be congratulating President-elect Joe Biden for his election win until the “official vote count” is in and “legal processes” are resolved, his spokesman said Monday.
Putin has remained mum on the issue since Biden clinched the presidency on Saturday, four days after the Nov. 3 election, clearing the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes needed for the win.
“We think it appropriate to wait for the official vote count,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “I want to remind you that President Putin repeatedly said he will respect the choice of the American people.”
Asked why Putin had congratulated President Trump soon after he had won the Electoral College and beaten Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, Peskov said there was an obvious difference this time.
“You can see that there are certain legal procedures that have been announced by the current president. That is why the situations are different and we therefore think it appropriate to wait for an official announcement,” he said.
“We hope that with the next president of the United States it will be possible to re-establish a dialogue and together agree on ways to normalize our bilateral relations,” Peskov added.
In the run-up to the election, the Russian leader had appeared to hedge his bets, frowning on Biden’s anti-Kremlin rhetoric but welcoming his comments on nuclear arms control.
The two countries’ ties sank to post-Cold War lows when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 when Biden was serving as vice president under President Barack Obama.
Relations deteriorated further amid allegations that Moscow had meddled in the 2016 presidential election to try to tilt the vote in Trump’s favor — something the Kremlin has denied.
During his campaign, Biden slammed Trump for having “embraced so many autocrats around the world, starting with Vladimir Putin.”
With Post wires
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