Russian President Vladimir Putin did not congratulate Joe Biden on his victory in the U.S. election and has no plans to do so in the near future.
According to Putin, it is "premature" to congratulate Biden, as the official results of the vote have not been finalized yet, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
In 2016, Putin was one of the first to congratulated Trump, two hours after U.S. media declared him the winner of the election based on preliminary vote counting data.
This year there is a "clearly obvious difference," Peskov said. "You can see that there will be certain legal procedures, which were announced by the current president. This is what makes the situation different. Therefore, we believe it is right to wait for the official announcement," Peskov explained.
Four years ago, there was no indication of a legal challenge to the election results, Peskov recalled. Peskov could not answer the question which U.S. authority the Kremlin considers responsible for the announcement of the official results of the American elections. "I will pass on this question," Peskov said. "There are no official results at all."
At the same time, he stressed that the Kremlin hopes for a dialogue and normalization of bilateral relations under any U.S. president.
"This is within the context of the (strategic) stability and security not only of our two nations, but also, in fact, of the peoples of the world," Peskov said.
On Saturday, according to preliminary estimates, Biden received 290 electoral votes out of 270 needed to win the election. Donald Trump refused to concede defeat and would demand a recount in the states where he led, but lost when the mail in votes began to be counted.
Biden was congratulated on his victory by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, British, Israeli and Canadian Prime Ministers Boris Johnson, Benjamin Netanyahu and Justin Trudeau.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro also sent a congratulatory message. "Venezuela, the birthplace of the liberator Simon Bolivar, is always ready for dialogue with the citizens and authorities of the United States," Maduro wrote on Twitter.
Biden's victory is bad news for the Kremlin, where it is well known that the new Biden administration is clearly committed to actively countering Russia's influence in Europe, the world and near the American borders.
Sanctions are among the most pressing threats for the Kremlin. And while there is no clear indication of what type of sanctions Biden can impose, there is hardly a scenario in which Russia will not be negatively affected.