Putin Congratulates Joe Biden on Winning U.S. Election

Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on his election victory, one day after the electoral college confirmed that the former vice president won the 270 electoral votes required to unseat President Donald Trump.

Putin had refused to congratulate Biden until the electoral college had gathered to confirm the result, and was the only major world leader not to do so.

But according to Russia's state news agency Tass, the strongman president sent Biden a telegram Monday to offer his best wishes.

Tass cited a Kremlin press service statement that read: "The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin sent a congratulatory telegram to Joseph Biden on the occasion of the victory in the presidential elections of the United States of America."

"In the telegram, Putin wished the president-elect every success," the Kremlin statement said, quoting Putin as saying: "For my part, I am ready for interaction and contacts with you."

Putin "expressed confidence that Russia and the United States, bearing special responsibility for global security and stability, can, despite their differences, really contribute to solving many problems and challenges that the world is currently facing," according to the statement.

Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to undermine Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, and according to American intelligence officials did the same in 2020 to "denigrate" Biden.

Putin's silence after Biden's victory was cited by Trump critics as evidence that the Kremlin wanted the president to win a second term and that Moscow is still seeking to undermine American democracy and spread doubts among voters, per its longstanding anti-democratic strategy.

For weeks the Kremlin delayed acknowledging the result of the election, which Trump had clearly lost despite his longshot litigation campaign against the results and the conspiracy theories of electoral fraud disseminated by the White House, administration officials, and Republican lawmakers.

Last month, Putin said there was no political element to his delay in congratulating Biden.

"I want to assure you: There's no hidden motive, that we like someone, or that we dislike someone," he was quoted by state news agencies as saying. "We are just waiting for an end to the domestic political standoff."

Putin also dismissed concerns that his delay would damage ties with the incoming Biden administration. "You can't spoil a spoiled relationship. It is already spoiled," he said.

Russia's Putin Sitting at Desk With Flags
Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on December 2, 2020. Putin congratulated U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on winning the election for the first time after the Electoral College voted on Monday, December 14. ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images