Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump addresses supporters during a campaign stop in Green Bay, Wisconsin, October 17, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has criticized his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama for aggressively “insulting” Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“They insult him constantly — I mean, no wonder he can’t stand Obama and Hillary Clinton,” the New York businessman said in a radio interview on Monday.
Describing the growing tensions between Russia and the US as a “very serious problem,” Trump said the situation is the “worst” since the end of the Cold War.
“We have Putin, who has no respect for Obama at all — doesn’t like him, and doesn’t respect him,” the real estate mogul said. “A really catastrophic situation here, I’ll be honest with you.”
The former reality TV star said, if elected in the November election, he would meet with Putin “prior to” inauguration.
Russia and Putin have been one of the hottest topics discussed in this year’s election cycle, with Clinton and Trump taking completely opposite stances.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with his US counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou, China, September 5, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
The Clinton campaign has openly blamed Russia for an email fiasco concerning the former secretary of state’s bid for the White House.
Clinton has also accused Moscow of trying to influence the elections in favor of Trump.
The Republican candidate, however, has rejected Clinton’s allegations against Russia, and has pledged to work with Moscow and earn Putin’s respect.
The issue once again came up during the second presidential debate on October 9, where Clinton claimed that Trump was hiding his tax returns because they would expose his ties with Moscow.
Trump denied the allegation, saying he had no business interests in the country.
During his Monday interview, Trump said Clinton shouldn’t be talking so "tough” about Russia.
Despite the ongoing row between the two candidates, Putin has made it clear that his government would be willing to strike good relations with the next US administration, no matter who wins the election.

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