Putin says Trump’s business record shows he is a ‘smart man’

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Vladimir Putin has called Donald Trump a ‘smart man’ over his business record. Photograph: Mikhail Klimentyev/AP

Russian president Vladimir Putin has said Donald Trump’s business success is evidence the US president-elect is a “smart man”.

In an interview broadcast on Sunday, Putin also said Trump will “quickly realize” his responsibilities as the next leader of the United States.

“Trump was a businessman and an entrepreneur,” Putin told Russia’s NTV network. “Today’s he’s already a state actor, already head of the United States of America, one of the world’s leading nations, one of the world’s leading economies, leading military powers.

“He could achieve success in business, which says that he’s a smart man. And if he’s a smart man, that means that he’ll fully and quickly enough realize this different level of responsibility. We expect that he will act with this perspective in mind.”

On Thursday, in his annual state of the nation address, Putin said he hoped to mend US-Russian relations after years of bitter disagreement, economic sanctions and conflict via opposing factions, as in Syria and Ukraine.

“We are ready to cooperate with the new American administration,” Putin told lawmakers and officials at the Kremlin. “It’s important to normalize and start to develop our bilateral relations on an equal and mutually beneficial basis.”

Trump, who has been accused of being too close to the Putin regime, has said he wants “to get along with Russia” and restore military cooperation in the Middle East.

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