Putin congratulates Biden on election victory—before Trump, McConnell and Republican leadership have

December 15, 2020, 12:53 PM UTC

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Joe Biden a congratulatory telegram after the Electoral College formalized his victory in the Nov. 3 election, making him among the last world leaders to recognize the U.S. president-elect.

Putin wished Biden luck and said Russia and the U.S. can contribute to solving global problems, according to a Kremlin statement Tuesday. “For my part, I am ready for cooperation and contacts with you,” Putin said in the statement.

The Russian president had previously said he wouldn’t recognize the election results until they were accepted by Biden’s opponent or confirmed in a “legitimate” way.

The Democratic candidate’s Electoral College win over President Donald Trump, who’s refused to concede defeat, was finalized after electors in each state voted Monday. Trump and his allies are still protesting the result, but with more than 50 post-election lawsuits rejected, including by the U.S. Supreme Court, they have no viable path to overturn it.

Polish President Andrzej Duda, who considers himself a political ally of Trump, also congratulated Biden after the Electoral College vote. In a letter, he said Poland and the U.S. were “strategic partners” joined by the values of “freedom, justice, democracy and the primacy of international law.”

Russia, which was accused by U.S. intelligence agencies of intervening in 2016 to help get Trump elected, has been wary of Biden, who is likely to seek to emphasize his support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and traditional U.S. allies. Russia is also concerned about the risk of new sanctions by the incoming administration.

Putin’s telegram came a day after hackers tied to the Russian authorities were suspected of involvement in one of the most audacious attacks on U.S. government agencies in recent memory, as part of a global campaign involving malware inserted into updates by a software maker. Russia has denied involvement.

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