During a news conference in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin touched on several issues, including U.S. politics and the presidential race. In particular, he singled out Republican front-runner Donald Trump and called him the “absolute leader” in the race for the Oval Office.
Putin maintained that his country would work with “whomever the American voters choose,” but specifically highlighted Trump as a serious contender.
“He’s a very lively man, talented without doubt,” he said, adding that Trump was the “absolute leader in the presidential race.”
“He’s saying he wants to go to another level of relations, closer, deeper relations with Russia,” Putin said. “How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome that.”
Putin also referred to the real estate mogul as “bright.”
Trump famously praised Putin in a similar manner in October, saying he believed he could "get along very well" with the Russian leader, despite their differences.