Putin says Russia would work with any US leader, but praises Trump for saying he seeks better ties with Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Joe Biden on his victory in the US presidential election, after Biden won the state-by-state Electoral College vote that officially determines the US presidency, the Kremlin said.
The Kremlin had said it would wait for the official results of the election before commenting on its outcome, even as other nations congratulated Biden on the win in the days after the November 3 vote.
“For my part, I am ready for interaction and contact with you,” the Kremlin cited Putin as saying in a statement.
“Putin wished the president-elect every success and expressed confidence that Russia and the United States, which have a special responsibility for global security and stability, could, despite their differences, really help to solve the many problems and challenges facing the world,” the Kremlin said.
Putin was one of the last leaders of world powers to have held back on congratulating Biden.
Officials in Moscow, including the country’s elections chief and foreign minister, had earlier criticised the US elections process, describing it as archaic and not representative of the will of the people.
Biden is expected to take a tougher stand against Russia compared with outgoing US President Donald Trump, who the Democrat slammed during the campaign for having “embraced so many autocrats around the world, starting with Vladimir Putin”.
Russia was accused of interfering in the 2016 US election to help get Trump elected, in the hope he would take a softer line with Moscow.
In November, asked why in 2016 Putin had congratulated Trump soon after he had won the Electoral College and beaten Democrat Hillary Clinton, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was an obvious difference this time around.
“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,” said Peskov.