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Russia's President Vladimir Putin during an teleconference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence in Moscow. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a message of congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden, the Kremlin announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: Putin was one of the few world leaders to refrain from congratulating Biden for his election win. But after the Electoral College affirmed his election victory, the Kremlin released a statement saying Putin looked forward to having "interaction and contact with" Biden, per Russia's TASS news agency.

"In a telegram, Putin wished the President-elect every success and expressed confidence that Russia and the United States, which bear special responsibility for global security and stability, can, despite their differences, really contribute to solving many problems and challenges that the world is currently facing."

Of note: The Kremlin said last month that Putin would wait for an "official announcement" before commenting on the election or congratulating Biden.

  • President Trump has yet to concede despite the Electoral College vote and spent much of Monday night tweeting and retweeting baseless conspiracy theories on the election.

For the record: A bipartisan Senate intelligence report found Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump.

  • FBI director Chris Wray testified in September that the bureau had seen "very active efforts by the Russians to influence our election in 2020," primarily to "denigrate" Biden.
  • Biden has promised a more adversarial relationship with Russia and with Putin himself, Axios' Dave Lawler notes.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”

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Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

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Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."