Russian President Vladimir Putin, while continuing to deny the Kremlin has sought to meddle in the United States election, praised Donald Trump on Thursday for energizing American voters "tired of the elites," NBC News reported.
"Is America some sort of banana republic? America is a great power. Please correct me if I'm wrong," Putin said at the Valdai Club, an annual gathering of world policy experts. "Does anyone really think that Russia can influence the choice of the American people in any way?"
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security accused the Russian government of hacking the email servers of the Democratic National Committee. Putin denied Russia's involvement.
Trump has also spoken positively of Putin and indicated his willingness to work with him as president. On Thursday, the Associated Press reported, Trump criticized rival Hillary Clinton at a rally in Ohio for speaking "very badly of Putin, and I don't think that's smart."