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Putin silent on Biden win but Gorbachev sees reason for hope

Published November 08,2020

While Russian President Vladimir Putin has been noticeably silent on Joe Biden's presidential victory, Mikhail Gorbachev says ties between Washington and Moscow may now improve.

The 89-year-old former president of the Soviet Union told the Interfax news agency that Biden, a Democratic fixture in Washington for five decades, is a sincere person following a sensible course.

Gorbachev in particular sees a chance to save the New START treaty, which is the last major arms control pact between the world's largest nuclear powers. It is set to expire in February.

"Now it will be easier," the Nobel Peace Prize winner said on Sunday of the faltering talks to extend the deal that went into effect in 2011.

The New Start Treaty limits the nuclear arsenals of both sides to 800 strategic launchers and 1,550 nuclear warheads.

"Of course the Democrats will be cautious - and so will we. But caution should not stand in the way of real negotiations between two sides," said Gorbachev.

Neither Putin nor Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have so far commented on Biden's win. President Donald Trump refuses to concede and has launched legal challenges, despite scepticism among experts of his chances of changing the results in any significant way.

Trump has frequently praised Putin, even though US intelligence agencies said Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election, including the use of hacking and disinformation campaigns.