Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says the Kremlin will wait for an “official announcement” before commenting on the U.S. election — or congratulating President-elect Biden.
Why it matters: Most major world leaders congratulated Biden after the race was called on Saturday, just as Putin quickly congratulated Trump in 2016. But Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman, said this was a different situation due to the “legal procedures that have been announced by the current president.”
- “We therefore think it appropriate to wait for an official announcement,” Peskov said.
- Russian media has seized on Trump’s claims that the adoption is rigged to paint a general picture of democratic chaos, per the NYT.
- Trump’s legal efforts could be a drawn out process, and are likely doomed to fail.
The big picture: Russia interfered in the 2016 election to boost Trump’s chances, and U.S. intelligence found evidence of similar interference this time around. Biden has promised a more adversarial relationship with Russia and with Putin himself.
- Ahead of the election, Putin appeared to hedge his bets. He didn’t ultimately agree to Trump’s terms for extending the New START nuclear treaty — which would have given Trump a major pre-election win — preferring Biden’s approach on that issue.
- “We will work with any future president of the United States — the one whom the American people give their vote of confidence,” Putin said last month.
What to watch: Biden and Putin are likely to clash over the next four years, but they’ll have to start by making a deal.
- New START is set to expire two weeks after Biden takes office. It can be extended by mutual agreement of the two presidents.
Go deeper: World leaders congratulate Biden