Russian president Vladimir Putin will not congratulate US president-elect Joe Biden until legal challenges to the election are resolved and the result is official, the Kremlin has announced.
Mr Putin is one of a handful of world leaders who have not commented on Mr Biden’s victory, which was called by major news organisations on Saturday.
But President Donald Trump’s team has promised legal action in the coming days and refused to concede his loss, while alleging large-scale voter fraud, so far without proof.
When Mr Trump won in 2016, Mr Putin was prompt in offering congratulations – but Mr Trump’s challenger in that election, Hillary Clinton, also conceded the day after the vote.
Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that this year is different.
“Obviously, you can see that certain legal procedures are coming there, which were announced by the incumbent president — therefore this situation is different, so we consider it correct to wait for the official announcement,” he said.
The leaders of China, Brazil and Turkey are also yet to offer congratulations and Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would wait to comment until the legal challenges over the vote were resolved.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin offered a similar explanation of why President Xi Jinping has stayed silent.
“We understand the presidential election result will be determined following US laws and procedures,” he said.
A senior Turkish official said Ankara was also was waiting for the various legal challenges to be settled before congratulating “the winner”.
“Turkey will congratulate the winner as soon as the results of the election will become official as part of the respect it has for the US people and democracy,” said Omer Celik, a spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party. “We are waiting for the final results… because there are objections and other disputes.”
Mr Celik said Turkey knows both Mr Trump and Mr Biden and is prepared to work with “whichever wing” is the winner.
Mr Peskov suggested that when the time comes, a congratulations message from Mr Putin would come with all the expected protocol.
“I remind you that Vladimir Putin said more than once that he will respect any choice of American people, and will be ready to work with any chosen president of the United States,” he said.