Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Republican presidential contender Donald Trump Thursday in Moscow, calling the real estate tycoon “talented” and “outstanding,” the French news agency Agence France-Presse reported.
“He is a very outstanding man, unquestionably talented,” Putin told journalists after his annual press conference in Moscow, according to the AFP.
“It’s not up to us to judge his virtue, that is up to U.S. voters, but he is the absolute leader of the presidential race,” Putin added.
Asked about the prospect of a new US president during the three-hour news conference, Putin, whose relationship with Barack Obama is strained at best, said “we first have to understand who it is going to be.”
“Whoever it is, we are ready and want to develop our relations with the United States,” he said, adding that unlike the US, which “always tries to tell us… who to elect and who not to elect,” Russia doesn’t do any such thing.
The Russian president also liked hearing what Trump has said on the campaign trail about Russia and Putin.
“He says that he wants a different level of relations, tighter and deeper relations with Russia,” Putin told the reporters. “How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it.”
Here’s a video clip of Putin’s comments, with English subtitles, via ABC News.
— ABC News (@ABC) December 17, 2015
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