Putin says it’s early to greet US election winner as legal issues not sorted out


Russia ready to work with any US president, the Russian leader noted

MOSCOW, Nov 22 – Russian President Vladimir Putin explained that he has not yet congratulated the presumptive winner of the US presidential election because there is the need to wait until all legal issues are ironed out.

In the interview with “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin” program on Rossiya-1 TV channel, the Russian leader noted that a formal delay with congratulations won’t worsen relations between Moscow and Washington, which are already bad.

“You can’t spoil a spoiled relationship, it is already spoiled,” Putin said commenting on whether the delay with congratulating the presumptive winner of the US election could deteriorate relations with Washington.

“We have a respectful relation to everyone: both incumbent President [Donald] Trump and candidate for this post Mr. [Joseph] Biden. Therefore, we don’t have any problems here,” Putin assured.

Putin stressed that this is purely a formal issue. “There isn’t any hidden agenda or anything what would be unusual or could be a basis for further deterioration of our relations.”

“As for others – those who congratulate [Biden], it’s up to each and everyone, all people are experienced and know what and how they do,” the president said. He also recalled that last time everyone had congratulated Hillary Clinton and it turned out that Trump won.

Waiting until final election results

Russia’s authorities are ready to work with any US President-Elect but now it’s important to wait until the vote count is completed and “the domestic political struggle” in the United States ends, Putin added.

“We will work with any person who will have confidence of the US people,” the Russian leader said.

In response to a question whether Putin planned to congratulate the US President-Elect after the vote count is over, Putin said: “[This] should be either done in line with political tradition when one of the sides acknowledges the victory of the other or when the final outcome of the vote is recognized in a legitimate and legal way.”

The United States held the presidential elections on November 3. Though the vote count is still underway, major US media outlets project that the Democratic contender has presumptively won the presidential election. Both Fox News and Associated Press have put Biden over the top, beyond the needed 270 vote threshold. Trump is challenging the current outcome, claiming irregularities in the ballot processing in key swing states, and has filed lawsuits to fight his case in court.