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Kremlin wants final U.S. election vote count before congratulating anyone

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The Kremlin said on Monday it would wait for the official results of the U.S. presidential election before commenting on its outcome, and that it had noted incumbent Donald Trump’s announcement of legal challenges related to the vote.

President Vladimir Putin has remained silent on the issue since Democrat Joe Biden clinched the presidency on Saturday, four days after the Nov. 3 election, clearing the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

In the vote’s run-up, Putin had appeared to hedge his bets, frowning on Biden’s anti-Russian rhetoric but welcoming his comments on nuclear arms control. Putin had also defended Biden’s son, Hunter, against criticism from Trump.

Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that Moscow deemed it better to now wait before congratulating anyone.

“We think it appropriate to wait for the official vote count,” said Peskov.

Asked why in 2016 Putin had congratulated Trump soon after he had won the Electoral College and beaten Democrat Hillary Clinton, Peskov said there was an obvious difference this time round.

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