US & Canada

Joe Biden tells Davos: Russia 'trying to collapse' liberal order

Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States speaks at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Vice-President Joe Biden's warning in Davos comes two days before Donald Trump takes office

Joe Biden has called on the world to defend the "liberal international order" in the face of an aggressive Russia and the rise of populism.

Mr Biden warned of "further attempts by Russia to meddle in the democratic process" during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The US vice-president said Washington must work with Europe to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Biden's warning comes two days before Donald Trump's inauguration.

President-elect Trump has indicated he would take a more conciliatory tone with Vladimir Putin, and has predicted the disintegration of the European Union while publicly backing the UK's exit.

Mr Biden's speech - while not mentioning Mr Trump by name - appeared to take aim at the incoming president, noting "dangerous willingness to revert to political small-mindedness".

However, it was Mr Putin who was Mr Biden's clear target.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Biden said Russia, under Vladimir Putin, was testing the "fault lines of Western nations"

"Under President Putin, Russia is working with every tool available to them to whittle away at the edges of the European project, test the fault lines of Western nations and return to a politics defined by spheres of influence," Mr Biden told the assembled leaders, CEOs and bankers on Wednesday.

"We see it in their aggression against their neighbours... we see it in their worldwide use of propaganda and false information campaigns.

"With many countries in Europe slated to hold elections this year, we should expect further attempts by Russia to meddle in the democratic process. It will occur again, I promise you.

"And again the purpose is clear: to collapse the liberal international order."

On Tuesday, China's President Xi Jinping said there was "no point" in blaming economic globalisation for the world's problems, saying financial crises were caused by the excessive pursuit of profits.

His comments were read as a rebuke to Mr Trump, who has promised a protectionist approach.