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Putin says he will congratulate Biden on victory when official US presidential results are announced or Trump concedes defeat

Putin says he will congratulate Biden on victory when official US presidential results are announced or Trump concedes defeat
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied that his relationship with likely future US counterpart Joe Biden is off to a rocky start after he didn’t join many other world leaders in congratulating the former vice president.

In comments to the Rossiya-1 news channel, Putin said that it would have been improper to pre-empt the conclusion of the contest while the results have still not been made certain. “There is no hidden motivation and nothing unusual,” he told viewers, “and nothing that could cause our relationship to deteriorate… This is purely a formality.”

"The political custom dictates that [we send congratulations] when one of the parties recognizes the victory of the other, or the final results of the elections are finalised in a legitimate, legal way" Putin added.

Earlier this month, the president’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, informed reporters that Russia would wait to see the final results, or for one candidate to concede, before reaching out to either. He reiterated that “we consider it correct to wait for the official summing up of the results of the elections.”

A legal process is ongoing in a number of American states, with both Biden and incumbent President Donald Trump claiming victory in the poll. While US officials say the vote was “the most secure in American history,” Trump has refused to hold back on his claims that the election was “rigged,” taking to Twitter to announce, “I won this election, by a lot!” 

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While the results will have to be certified, and are not formalized until a vote by the Electoral College on December 14, a number of world leaders were quick to set up calls with Biden, who lays claim to 306 votes, compared to Trump’s 232. 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga all spoke to Biden after he proclaimed himself the winner.

Putin’s decision to hold off was interpreted by some Western news outlets as “a deliberate snub.” 

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