Russian President Vladimir Putin told a group of reporters in Moscow that he knew all along that President-elect Donald Trump would win the election.
Speaking at his end-of-year press conference, Putin explained that, in his view, Trump understood the mood of the electorate in a way that other candidates did not.
"Certainly only we knew that he was going to win. No one else did," Putin said, reports the Daily Mail. "He precisely felt the mood of the society and ... went to the end, though nobody believed that he would win except us."
Regarding the support Putin now has from a sector of American society, he said it has less to do with him and more to do with a common world view.
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"I don't put it down to me, the fact that a large part of Republican voters support the Russian president," he said. "It means that a large part of the American people have the same idea of how the world should be, of our common dangers and problems."
Putin was also asked about the allegations that his government hacked the emails of the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign manager. The Russian president denied any knowledge of the cyberattack.
"Losers always look for ways to accuse someone else," he said. "They always forget the most important thing. Let's say some hackers hacked Democratic emails. As Trump said: 'Who knows who did it?'"
"They are losing on all fronts and are looking for the guilty party on the side," he said. "That's beneath their dignity. You have to lose with dignity."
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Putin also suggested that whoever was responsible for the security breach provided a service to the American people.
"What is the best evidence that the hackers unveiled true information?" he said. "That after the hackers showed how public opinion is manipulated inside the Democratic Party … the chief of the Democratic National Committee [Debbie Wasserman Schultz] quit."
"That means she admitted that the hackers showed the truth ... [but] instead of apologizing ... they started to shout about who initiated the hack attacks," he said. "Does that really matter?"
Putin also told reporters he looks forward to having a "constructive relationship" with Trump, who he said has promised to reduce tensions between the U.S. and Russia.
But the president-elect's recent comments regarding nuclear weapons have left many wondering what his real intentions are.
In a Dec. 22 tweet, Trump wrote that the "United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes."
Asked the following day to explain what he meant, Trump told MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski that he's prepared to start another arms race.
"Let it be an arms race," he said, reports Reuters. "We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all."
Responding to Trump's nuclear rhetoric, Putin said he wasn't surprised.
"As for Donald Trump, there is nothing new about it," he said, The New York Times reports. "During his election campaign he said the U.S. needs to bolster its nuclear capabilities and its armed forces in general."