Russian President Vladimir Putin is waiting for official results from the US presidential election to congratulate winner of the election, the Kremlin said on Monday.
“We consider it correct to wait for the official results to be finalized. I want to remind you that President Putin repeatedly said he will respect the choice of the American people,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, according to Euronews.
Many world leaders have since congratulated Joe Biden for defeating incumbent president Donald Trump in the November 3 presidential election.
Biden’s victory came after the Associated Press, CNN and NBC showed him winning one of the four final battleground states, Pennsylvania, and gaining more than the 270 Electoral College votes required to secure the presidency.
In 2016, President Putin reportedly congratulated Donald Trump within an hour after he was announced winner of the Presidential election. President Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the election.
Kremlin spokesman Peskov said that the US 2020 election was different because of the legal challenges that Trump is planning to mount over the vote. Trump has not conceded defeat yet.
“The difference is quite obvious… then there were no announcements of legal challenges,” Peskov said.
He added that Moscow was ready to work with whoever is declared the winner of the US vote.
“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,” he said.
Russia was accused of interfering in the 2016 election to help get Trump elected, in the hope he would take a softer line with Moscow. Russia has long denied the accusation.
Biden is expected to take a tougher stand on Russia, according to analysts. At the very least, analysts expect that a victory for Biden would increase tensions between the US and Russia, and would raise the probability of new sanctions on Russia.