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Putin showers Trump in compliments, with a catch

Putin
Russian President Putin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov / Getty Images

In a series of interviews with Russian state television, detailed by the AP, Russian President Vladimir Putin showered President Trump in compliments, calling him a "great communicator" and noting he "made a very good impression on me."

Yes, but: Putin said the U.S. political system is a different story.

"[The U.S. political system] has demonstrated its inefficiency and has been eating itself up... It’s quite difficult to interact with such a system, because it’s unpredictable."
— Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday

Highlights:

  • The rift between Russia and the West: "We are a great power, and no one likes competition," said Putin. He later added, “Those who serve us with poison will eventually swallow it and poison themselves."
  • Russia's growing power: "If we play strongly with weak cards, it means the others are just poor players, they aren’t as strong as it seemed, they must be lacking something.”
  • Russia's expanding nuclear arsenal: “If someone makes a decision to destroy Russia, then we have a legitimate right to respond... Yes, it will mean a global catastrophe for mankind, for the entire world. But as a citizen of Russia and the head of Russian state I would ask: What is such a world for, if there were no Russia?”