Putin says prefers more ‘predictable’ Biden over Trump

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Russian President Vladimir Putin described U.S. counterpart Joe Biden on Wednesday as more “predictable” than Donald Trump but said the Kremlin was prepared to work with whoever wins November’s election.

Asked by a journalist who Russia would like to see win in the likely contest between the Democratic incumbent and Republican frontrunner Trump, Putin said: “Biden, he’s more experienced. He’s predictable, he’s an old-school politician.”

Putin batted away questions about Biden’s age and health, with the president set to turn 82 just weeks after the election.

“When I met Mr Biden three years ago, it’s true, people were already talking about his inabilities, but I saw nothing of the sort,” said Putin, evidently referring to a summit in Geneva.

U.S. polls show voters have strong concerns about Biden’s age.

The age issue has been compounded by two recent episodes in which Biden confused European leaders with dead predecessors.

The White House was forced to vehemently defend the president’s competence last week after a special counsel report described him as an “elderly man with a poor memory”.

Biden himself responded angrily to the accusation, but then compounded the problem by mixing up the presidents of Egypt and Mexico.

Trump, 77, has also mixed up people’s names recently, confusing his last rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Nikki Haley, with former U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Putin, nonetheless, expressed strong opposition to Washington’s foreign policy under Biden.

“What we have to examine is the political position, and that of the current administration is extremely harmful and wrong,” said Putin.

The Biden administration has led a Western response to come to Ukraine’s aid in the two-year conflict with Russia.

The stated preference for Biden comes despite his harsh criticisms of Putin, and after Trump on numerous occasions expressed admiration for the Kremlin leader.

The Republican presidential contender also ran into fierce criticism after recently suggesting he would encourage Russia to attack any NATO country he thought had not paid enough money to support the alliance.

Trump reacted to Putin’s comments at a rally in South Carolina on Wednesday evening, praising them as “a great compliment”.

“I got along good with him, but he doesn’t want to have me, he wants Biden,” the former president said of Putin, adding: “Biden is going to give him Ukraine.”

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