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As Biden's victory is hailed, some prominent world leaders remain silent

Russia and Brazil are yet to offer congratulations to the president-elect.
Image: President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam.
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam, in November 2017. Jorge Silva / Reuters file

LONDON — As Joe Biden was declared president-elect Saturday, congratulatory messages poured in from leaders around across the world. But several have remained notably silent, including some of President Donald Trump's long-term allies.

Brazil's President, Jair Bolsonaro, who is often referred to as "the Trump of the Tropics," has stayed mum about Biden's victory.

Ahead of the election, Bolsonaro, a far-right populist, threw his support behind Trump and called Biden's comments that Brazil should suffer "significant economic consequences" if devastation of the Amazon rainforest continues "disastrous."

Before the election, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would work with any U.S. leader, but there has been no official comment from the Kremlin about Biden's win.

Throughout his term, Trump has been accused of being sympathetic to Putin, whom he has called "a strong leader," despite intelligence reports that Russian interfered in the 2016 election.

Biden has been much tougher in his stance on Russia, calling it the biggest threat to U.S. national security last month — an assessment the Kremlin said encouraged hatred of Russia.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was recently poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent, was the first high-profile Russian political figure to publicly chime in on the U.S. election Sunday, congratulating Biden on his win.

Leonid Slutsky, the head of the international affairs committee in the Russian parliament, or Duma, told the state media agency Tass on Sunday that Biden was "unlikely to make positive adjustments to Washington's policy towards Russia," because he personally participated in the launch of the anti-Russian sanctions while he was vice president.

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Turkish strongman president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, an on-and-off ally of Trump's, also had not yet commented publicly.

Making no mention of the U.S. vote, Turkey's Foreign Ministry did take the time to congratulate the winner of a presidential election in Guinea on Sunday.

Turkey stands to lose more than most other countries from Biden's victory, as he is expected to toughen the U.S. stance against Turkey's foreign military interventions and its closer cooperation with Russia.

Another major stumbling block is Washington's refusal to extradite the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara says orchestrated a failed coup in 2016.

But Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay insisted Sunday that Biden's win would not change relations between the old allies.

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Joe Biden in Beijing in 2013.Lintao Zhang / Pool via Reuters file

Even before the election, China had said that it does not get involved in the affairs of other countries, and President Xi Jinping had not issued any public statements on Biden's victory.

China's relations with the U.S. deteriorated dramatically under Trump over trade, technology, the coronavirus pandemic, human rights and Beijing's growing international assertiveness.

But while Trump's rhetoric toward China has turned increasingly bellicose in his last year in office, Biden has at times gone even further, having previously referred to Xi as a "thug."

However, some people in China's capital, Beijing, said they were relieved by Biden's victory.

"I was happy to learn that Biden won, because during Trump, he made the ties between the U.S. and China very tense," said Zhou Tianfu, 55, a car wash worker in Beijing. "We hope there will be peace under Biden."