Putin Says He’s Unable to Recognize Biden as U.S. President

(Bloomberg) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said he’s ready to work with any U.S. leader, but still isn’t ready to recognize the election victory of Joe Biden.Vladimir Putin wearing a suit and tie: HELSINKI, FINLAND - JULY 16: Russian President Vladimir Putin answers questions about the 2016 U.S Election collusion during a joint press conference with U.S. President Donald Trump after their summit on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland. The two leaders met one-on-one and discussed a range of issues including the 2016 U.S Election collusion. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)© Photographer: Chris McGrath/Gett HELSINKI, FINLAND – JULY 16: Russian President Vladimir Putin answers questions about the 2016 U.S Election collusion during a joint press conference with U.S. President Donald Trump after their summit on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland. The two leaders met one-on-one and discussed a range of issues including the 2016 U.S Election collusion. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

“We will work with anyone who has the confidence of the American people,” Putin said on Russian state TV Sunday. “But that confidence can only be given to a candidate whose victory has been recognized by the opposing party, or after the results are confirmed in a legitimate, legal way.”

The comments are some of the most detailed since the election from Putin, one of a dwindling number of leaders who haven’t recognized Biden as the next U.S. head of state. Russia, accused by U.S. intelligence agencies of intervening in 2016 to help get Trump elected, has been wary of Biden, fearing an increase in sanctions pressure and clashes over human rights.Vladimir Putin wearing a suit and tie: HELSINKI, FINLAND - JULY 16: Russian President Vladimir Putin answers questions about the 2016 U.S Election collusion during a joint press conference with U.S. President Donald Trump after their summit on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland. The two leaders met one-on-one and discussed a range of issues including the 2016 U.S Election collusion. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)© Photographer: Chris McGrath/Gett HELSINKI, FINLAND – JULY 16: Russian President Vladimir Putin answers questions about the 2016 U.S Election collusion during a joint press conference with U.S. President Donald Trump after their summit on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland. The two leaders met one-on-one and discussed a range of issues including the 2016 U.S Election collusion. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Putin described the Kremlin’s decision not to congratulate Biden as “a formality” with no ulterior motives. When asked if the move could damage U.S.-Russia relations, he said: “there’s nothing to damage, they’re already ruined.”

President Donald Trump “must recognize the results of the elections and all lawsuits must be completed,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call Monday. “Only after that will the results be officially summed up. But obviously that hasn’t happened yet.”

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