Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday praised US President Donald Trump and said he was exactly the kind of person he liked most.
Putin said he had never met Trump but that he agreed relations between their countries had to improve and he was willing to talk with the US leader.
"I have to recognize that I love that kind of person. They are simple, direct, they have a very honest view of things and that can be very advantageous," Efe quoted him as saying. He said he had a lot in common with the US leader as he considered that neither were professional politicians and highlighted that he himself had never been a member of a party.
Nonetheless, records show that Putin entered the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1970 while attending St Petersburg State University, and remained a member until December 1991.
Putin insisted that whether he liked Trump or not was irrelevant, as the important thing was to establish a good personal and political relationship regardless.
"I don't know if this will be possible, but we are patient and we will wait to see what happens," he said.
In response to a question on what advice he would give to the White House's new occupant, Putin said a person like Trump did not need tips and especially not from a counterpart such as himself, as the advice was always misinterpreted and thus counter-productive.
The Russian leader said that what Moscow perceived to be growing global Russophobic sentiments were caused by the country's defense of its legitimate interests in the international arena.
Putin said some countries had started to try to hold Russia back using actions that went against international rights, including economic restrictions.
"The fight that Russia leads is for legitimate interests and I emphasize that," said the Russian president, insisting that several nations were trying to create reasons to aggravate the situation with Moscow and, in order to achieve that endeavor, were pulling excuses from thin air.
Putin also acknowledged that there may be Russian hackers "who consider themselves patriots" and decide to "make their contribution, as they see fit, to fight against those who speak ill of Russia."
"Theoretically, that's possible," said Putin, who also dismissed as "fictional" accusations that Russian computer attacks influenced the results of France's election of its new president, Emmanuel Macron.