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Vladimir Putin Returns Compliments to Donald Trump Ahead of Joe Biden Meeting

Newsweek logo Newsweek 6/12/2021 Darragh Roche
Vladimir Putin wearing a suit and tie sitting at a desk: Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the launching ceremony of the Gazprom's Amur Gas Processing Plant, via a video conference, at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, on June 9, 2021. Putin has praised former President Donald Trump ahead of his meeting with President Joe Biden. © SERGEI ILYIN/Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the launching ceremony of the Gazprom's Amur Gas Processing Plant, via a video conference, at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, on June 9, 2021. Putin has praised former President Donald Trump ahead of his meeting with President Joe Biden.

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered praise for former President Donald Trump in an interview with NBC News ahead of his June 16 bilateral summit meeting with President Joe Biden.

Trump issued a statement on Thursday praising his relationship with Putin and touting a 2018 meeting between the two in Helsinki, Finland. He also mockingly offered Biden good luck, saying "don't fall asleep during the meeting."

On Friday, Putin praised Trump and compared him favorably to Biden, highlighting the president's long career in politics and saying his predecessor was an "extraordinary" person.

"Well even now, I believe that former U.S. president Mr. Trump is an extraordinary individual, talented individual, otherwise he would not have become U.S. president," the Russian president told NBC News' Keir Simmons.

"He is a colorful individual," Putin said. "You may like him or not. And, but he didn't come from the U.S. establishment. He had not been part of big-time politics before, and some like it, some don't like it but that is a fact."

Putin said Biden "is radically different from Trump because President Biden is a career man. He has spent virtually his entire adulthood in politics."

"That's a different kind of person, and it is my great hope that, yes, there are some advantages, some disadvantages, but there will not be any impulse-based movements on behalf of the sitting U.S. president," he said.

In his Thursday statement, Trump said that as president: "I had a great and very productive meeting in Helsinki, Finland, with President Putin of Russia. Despite the belated Fake News portrayal of the meeting, the United States won much, including the respect of President Putin and Russia."


Video: President Biden prepares for first meeting with Putin (CNBC)

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At a press conference following his 2018 meeting with Putin, Trump denied that Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election, directly contradicting the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community, saying he believed Putin on the matter. He again suggested he trusted Putin over the U.S. intelligence community in his statement this week.

"Good luck to Biden in dealing with President Putin — don't fall asleep during the meeting, and please give him my warmest regards!" Trump said.

Biden will meet Putin in Geneva, Switzerland on June 16 and has strongly suggested he will take a tough line with the Russian president. On Wednesday, he told the press the reason for his trip was to "make it clear to Putin and China that Europe and the U.S. are tight."

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In comments to NBC News, Putin appeared to dismiss Biden's comments in a March interview where he agreed that the Russian leader was a "killer." He called the remark "Hollywood macho."

"Over my tenure, I've gotten used to attacks from all kinds of angles and from all kinds of areas under all kinds of pretext and reasons and of different caliber and fierceness, and none of it surprises me," Putin said.

Newsweek has asked the White House and former President Trump's office for comment.

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