I don't think there's been a high profile endorsement like this from Russia since 1996, when Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a Russian politician who said he wanted to annex Alaska endorsed Pat Buchanan.
Putin calls Trump, 'talented without a doubt' and says he's the frontrunner
Trump responds by calling Putin's endorsement 'a great honor'
Russian President Vladimir Putin heaped praise on GOP hopeful Donald Trump on Thursday and said he would "welcome" a Trump presidency.
"He's a very lively man, talented without doubt," Putin said in his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, according to the Washington Post.
Although Putin said Russia would work with "whoever the American voters choose," he singled out Trump as the "absolute leader in the presidential race."
"He's saying he wants to go to another level of relations – closer, deeper relations with Russia," Putin added. "How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome that."
The admiration is mutual.
Trump said in a statement on Thursday, "It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond."
Chris Christie on the Hugh Hewitt Show today: I'm really glad I did not to win the Putin primary. Donald Trump can win that one