Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated President-elect Joe Biden a day after the U.S. Electoral College vote confirmed Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump. Via the Kremlin, Putin sent a telegram to Biden offering congratulations.
“Putin wished every success to the president-elect and expressed confidence that Russia and the U.S., who bear special responsibility for global security and stability, can facilitate resolution of many problems and challenges faced by the world now, despite disagreements,” the Kremlin said.
The statement also quoted Putin as saying, “Russian-American cooperation, based on the principles of equality and mutual respect, would meet the interests of both nations and the entire international community.”
The release concluded with more attributed to Putin, addressing Biden: “For my part, I am ready for interaction and contacts with you.”
Biden is likely to be tougher than Trump on Russia. During the campaign, Biden said Trump “embraced so many autocrats around the world, starting with Vladimir Putin.” In the days after the Nov. 3 vote, Russia said it would not comment until the official result was released.
While Putin’s move comes six weeks after the election, the delay is not being taken as an insult by most political analysts.
Putin congratulated Trump almost immediately after Hillary Clinton conceded in 2016, but Trump continues his baseless claims of election fraud and has not yet indicated a formal concession. Many Republicans have continued to support the president’s stance, even in the face of overwhelming rejections of Trump’s legal claims.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday also congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. “The Electoral College has spoken,” McConnell said, later referencing Harris’ accomplishment by saying “Beyond our differences, all Americans can take pride that our nation has a female vice president for the very first time.”