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Democrat Joe Biden was sworn in as the United States of America's 46th president on Jan. 20, 2021. This series, started before his inauguration, covers the efforts of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to build their administration.

Putin Congratulates Biden On His Victory Over Trump

Russian President Vladimir Putin told U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, "For my part, I am ready for interaction and contacts with you," according to the Kremlin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, "For my part, I am ready for interaction and contacts with you," according to the Kremlin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Joe Biden on his win in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, becoming one of the last world leaders to do so.

"For my part, I am ready for interaction and contacts with you," Putin said in his message to Biden, according to a statement from the Kremlin.

The Russian leader contacted Biden after the Electoral College affirmed his defeat of President Trump. He had previously said he would wait for the U.S. election results to become official before contacting the winner.

Putin extended his good wishes to Biden the same week U.S. officials said Russia infiltrated email systems at multiple agencies,including the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of the Treasury. Russia has rejected the accusations, saying it did not play a role. But the country has previously been found to have used hackers and other means in attempts to influence elections in the U.S. and a number of other countries.

Despite a delay much longer than in 2016, when Putin sent Trump a congratulatory message the morning after the vote, a comparison of the Kremlin's official statements shows Putin's messages to Biden and Trump to be very similar. Both of the notices highlight Putin's confidence that the two longtime rival nations will be able to cooperate on important issues, for instance.

It remains to be seen when the two might speak directly. In 2016, Putin and Trump spoke by phone less than a week after the Russian leader extended his congratulations.

While many U.S. allies and other countries were quick to congratulate Biden after U.S. news organizations called the race on Nov. 7, a number of high-profile leaders held off.

Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated Biden in late November, for instance, more than a week after India's Narendra Modi and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu – two Trump allies – called Biden.

As of Tuesday morning, the remaining major leaders who are not known to have contacted Biden are Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Both of those men said in late November that it was too soon to congratulate Biden — but that could now change. Last week, Mexican media outlets reported López Obrador would recognize Biden's win after Monday's Electoral College votes were counted.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.