Donald Trump’s praise for Vladimir Putin – calling him “far more of a leader” than President Barack Obama – is just the latest in a long series of warm comments about the Russian president.
Neither have the compliments been entirely one-way traffic – Mr Putin has described Mr Trump as “colourful and talented”.
There are policy implications too. Mr Trump has repeatedly said he wants to work more closely with Russia to defeat so-called Islamic State and has also said he would consider lifting sanctions and recognising its annexation of Crimea.
The BBC’s Steve Rosenberg in Moscow says that with all this in mind, it would be astonishing if the Kremlin did not welcome the prospect of a Trump White House.
So a budding geopolitical bromance then, albeit a somewhat one-sided one. Whether it would survive if Mr Trump wins in November is another matter.
Trump on Putin
“If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him. I’ve already said he is really, very much of a leader… the man has very strong control over a country. Now it’s a very different system and I don’t happen to like the system, but certainly, in that system he’s been a leader far more than our president has been a leader.”
“Lot of people say as an example, Russia, you know Hillary likes to play tough with Russia. Putin looks at her and he laughs. He laughs. Putin. Putin looks at Hillary Clinton and he smiles. Boy would he like to see her. That would be easy.”
December 2015 – at a campaign rally in Iowa
“You know, he feels good about me. I feel, frankly, good about him. I think that we can do things with Russia that are to our advantage… It’s a mutual advantage. Now, they’re jealous as hell because he’s not mentioning these people. He’s not going to mention them, so they’re jealous as hell.”
On the Morning Joe breakfast show
“When people call you ‘brilliant’ it’s always good, especially when the person heads up Russia. He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader. You know, unlike we have in this country.”
“[Putin] does not like Obama at all. He doesn’t respect Obama at all. And I’m sure that Obama doesn’t like him very much. But I think that I would probably get along with him very well. And I don’t think you’d be having the kind of problems that you’re having right now.”
Putin on Trump
June – downplaying earlier praise for Mr Trump
“You see, it’s like I said. Trump’s a colourful person. And well, isn’t he colourful? Colourful. I didn’t make any other kind of characterisation about him.
“But here’s where I will pay close attention, and where I exactly welcome and where on the contrary I don’t see anything bad: Mr Trump has declared that he’s ready for the full restoration of Russian-American relations. Is there anything bad there? We all welcome this, don’t you?”
December 2015 – after his annual press conference
“He is a very colourful and talented man, no doubt about that. He is the absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today. He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it.”
Source- BBC News