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Putin says he considers Donald Trump to be absolute leader of US presidential race

December 17, 2015, 14:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Putin hailed Donald Trump's remarks about readiness for a deeper level of relations with Russia if elected US president
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Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

© Artyom Korotayev/TASS

MOSCOW, December 17. /TASS/. Moscow is ready and wants to develop relations with Washington whoever wins the US presidential election in 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the annual news conference on Thursday.

"In any case, whoever is [new US president], we are ready and want to develop our relations with the United States," Putin told reporters, adding however that "first we need to understand" who becomes the new US leader.

Putin said the latest visit to Moscow of US Secretary of State John Kerry this week showed that "in general the US side is also ready to move towards a joint solution to those issues that can be solved only jointly."

"This is already, in principle, a wise position, we have supported it in every way and will support it," the president added.

Russia has never closed itself, "whoever the US people elected." "They always try to tell us what we need to do in this country — whom to elect and whom not to elect, and according to what procedures. We never do this and we stay out of (their business)," he said.

Vladimir Putin said he considers Donald Trump to be the absolute leader of the US presidential race and simply a talented person.

"He is a bright and talented person without any doubt. He is the absolute leader of the presidential race," Putin told journalists.

Putin hailed Donald Trump's remarks about readiness for a deeper level of relations with Russia if elected US president. However, Putin has opted not to comment on the remarks Donald Trump uses to prop up his popularity in the US presidential race.

"He says he will want to reach another, deeper, level of relations (with Russia). What else can we do but to welcome it? Certainly , we welcome it." Putin said. "That is none of our business to evaluate his accomplishments but he remains the absolute front-runner in the presidential race. He is an outstanding and talented personality without any doubts," Putin said.

"Intra-political things - his turn of phrase to prop up his popularity -" are not a matter of concern for Russia, Putin said.

"It is none of our business to estimate this work of his," the Russian president said.

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