Putin congratulates Joe Biden on US election victory

File photo. Then US Vice President Joe Biden (L) shakes hands with then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, 10 March 2011. [Maxim Shipenkov/EPA/EFE]

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday (15 December) congratulated Joe Biden on his victory in the US presidential election, after Biden won the state-by-state Electoral College vote that officially determines the US presidency, the Kremlin said.

“For my part, I am ready for interaction and contact with you,” the Kremlin cited Putin as saying in a statement.

“Putin wished the president-elect every success and expressed confidence that Russia and the United States, which have a special responsibility for global security and stability, could, despite their differences, really help to solve the many problems and challenges facing the world,” the Kremlin said.

Putin waited for the electoral college vote – a formality – before congratulating Biden, even as other nations congratulated Biden on the win in the days after the 3 November vote.

Polish President Andrzej Duda, who could be described as a fan of Donald Trump, also waited for the electoral college to send his congratulations to Biden.

But Monday’s vote assumed outsized significance in light of Trump’s extraordinary effort to subvert the process due to what he has falsely alleged was widespread voter fraud in the poll.

“In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed,” Biden said in a prime-time speech after the college vote from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. “Now it’s time to turn the page, as we’ve done throughout our history – to unite, to heal.”

In a roughly 13-minute speech, Biden, the Democratic former vice president, called for unity while voicing confidence that the country’s democratic institutions had held in the face of Trump’s attempts to reverse the election outcome.

“The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago,” Biden said. “We now know that not even a pandemic or an abuse of power can extinguish that flame.”

Biden emphasized that Trump and his allies filed “dozens and dozens” of legal challenges to the vote totals without success, including a Texas lawsuit that asked the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate four states’ results. The court, including three Trump appointees, rejected the bid with no dissents last week.

He also noted that his 306-232 margin in the Electoral College was the same as Trump’s 2016 victory, which the Republican described as a “landslide.”

Some Trump supporters had called for protests on social media, and election officials had expressed concern about the potential for violence amid the president’s heated rhetoric. But Monday’s vote proceeded smoothly, with no major disruptions.

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