MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin formally congratulated Donald Trump on his shock victory in the U.S. presidential election, the Kremlin said Wednesday.
Putin said he hoped “for cooperation in ending a crisis in Russian-American relations,” according to the text of the message, which was available on the Kremlin website.
Trump’s victory was an opportunity to build "a constructive dialogue between Moscow and Washington on the principles of equality, mutual respect and real consideration for each other's position,” Putin said in a telegram, his preferred method of communicating with newly elected leaders.
Putin was accused throughout the campaign of supporting Trump, who has spoken fondly of the Russian president.
Trump has voiced several foreign policy proposals benefiting Russian interests, including recognition of Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014 and a scale-back of NATO forces in Europe.
The Russian leader has a poor relationship with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who said he “has no soul,” and whom he accused of fostering protests in Russia in 2011 and 2012.
The Kremlin has been accused of working to undermine Clinton, including by hacking email servers of the Democratic Party and her own staff. Putin has always denied involvement, and insisted publicly that he does not back one candidate over the other.