Several top Kremlin officials on Wednesday acknowledged that President-elect Joe Biden is likely to take a more hostile stance towards Russia than President Trump due to Biden’s record of treating Russia as an adversary.
- Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters the Kremlin anticipates “nothing positive” in U.S.-Russia relations after Biden takes office in January.
- That sentiment was echoed by Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, who said in an interview with Russian news service Interfax, “We are not expecting anything good,” claiming Biden and his team have “made their careers on Russophobia.”
- Putin was among the last foreign heads of state to acknowledge Biden’s victory amid Trump’s refusal to concede, waiting until after the Electoral College voted earlier this month to tell the president-elect he is “ready to cooperate and maintain contact” and urge “mutual respect.”
- Ryabkov predicted relations would go from “bad to worse” after Biden takes office, asserting that while the U.S. had “no interest in normalizing relations” under Trump, Biden brings a “risk of further deterioration” in an “alarming and potentially dangerous moment.”
- Forbes has reached out to the Biden transition team for comment.
The remarks come as Washington is reeling from a massive cyber attack on several companies and federal government agencies – including the Department of Defense and the National Nuclear Security Agency – which officials have tied to Russia. Trump has been largely quiet about the breach, breaking his silence just once to downplay its severity, speculate that China may have been behind it and tie it to his baseless claims of voter fraud.
“Our adversaries should know that, as President, I will not stand idly by in the face of cyber assaults on our nation,” Biden said of the hack, vowing to make cybersecurity a “top priority at every level of government.”
U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina said in August that Russia was “using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden” in the 2020 election. Biden vowed in July to impose “substantial and lasting costs on state perpetrators” who interfere in U.S. elections, including financial-sector sanctions, asset freezes, cyber responses, and the exposure of corruption.”
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Biden’s team is considering harsh sanctions and “stepped-up counter cyber espionage efforts” on Russia in response to the attack, according to Reuters.