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Putin Says Russia Would ‘Welcome’ a Trump Presidency

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Russian President Vladimir Putin says that he could envision Russia welcoming relations with a U.S. led by Donald Trump.

During his annual year-end press conference on Thursday, Putin called Trump the “absolute leader in the presidential race,” the Washington Post reports.

“He’s saying he wants to go to another level of relations, closer, deeper relations with Russia,” Putin continued. “How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome that.”

Putin also said Trump is “a very lively man, talented without doubt,” but added that Russia would work with “whomever the American voters choose.” Trump has previously said he would “get along very well” with the Russian president.

[Washington Post]

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Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@time.com