Just hours after the Electoral College elected Joe Biden as the next president, formalizing the former Democratic vice president’s win in the Nov. 3 election, Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin finally acknowledged Biden’s victory, saying he “wished the president-elect every success” and was “ready for interaction and contact.”
The Kremlin, which has decried what it’s called Biden’s “sharp anti-Russian rhetoric” but praised the president-elect’s comments on arms control, previously said it preferred to wait until the election results were official before congratulating a winner.
Putin was one of the last world leaders who had not acknowledged Biden’s victory. President Donald Trump is still refusing to concede the election.
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In a telegram sent to Biden, and published by Russian state media, Russia’s longtime leader “expressed confidence that Russia and the U.S., who bear special responsibility for global security and stability, can facilitate resolution of many problems and challenges faced by the world now despite disagreements.”
Putin’s remarks come as cybersecurity experts pointed the finger at Russian hackersfor a massive, months-long digital spying operation that targeted the U.S. government, military and corporations. Russia denies any involvement in the hacking attack.
On Monday, the Department of Homeland’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, issued a highly unusual public appeal for further information about the breach. The federal agency requested that anyone with knowledge of the hack, which dates back to mid-year or earlier, to contact an email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The apparent conduit for the hacks is server software called SolarWinds. It is used by hundreds of thousands of organizations globally, including most Fortune 500 companies, multiple U.S. federal agencies including the Homeland, Commerce, State and Treasury departments, all five branches of the U.S. military, and dozens of universities.
None of the potentially affected U.S. government agencies have responded to requests for comment or released information about the extent of the possible damage caused by the cyber-espionage, which is being investigated.
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