Putin holding off on US presidential congratulations

Presidential Transition

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during a meeting in the Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

MOSCOW (NewsNation Now) — President Vladimir Putin says Russia is willing to work with whoever is officially declared the next president of the United States, but that he won’t offer congratulations until the winner is formally decided or a candidate concedes.

Putin’s remarks broadcast Sunday on state television reiterate earlier Kremlin comments on why Putin had not congratulated Joe Biden after major news organizations called him president-elect, as did many other world leaders.

“We are just waiting for the end of the internal political confrontation,” Putin said, referring to Republican challenges to the vote count.

”We will work with any person who will be given the trust of the American people. But who will be given this trust? It must either be indicated by political custom when one of the parties recognizes the victory of the other, or the final results of the elections are summed up in a legitimate, legal way,” he said.

 President Donald Trump has refused to concede and has attempted to challenge election results in key states. Biden has continued to move forward with his transition team and has appointed members of his White House staff. Biden’s team won’t have access to their counterparts at the various federal agencies or tap funds and office space for the transition until the General Services Administration ascertains that Biden is the winner.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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