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Russian President Vladimir Putin Congratulates Donald Trump Via Telegram After Election Night Win

Vladimir Putin congratulated Donald Trump via telegram on winning the 2016 presidential election, NBC reports.

The Russian president, 64, wrote that he hoped “for cooperation in ending a crisis in Russian-American relations” and that Trump’s victory could help build “a constructive dialogue between Moscow and Washington on the principles of equality, mutual respect and real consideration for each other’s position.” The message was posted on the Kremlin website.

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Trump, 70, has adamantly denied throughout the campaign that he’s friendly with Putin. However, he has praised him in interviews over the years.

Vladimir Putin (left) and Donald Trump

“I mean, this guy has done — whether you like him or don’t like him — he’s doing a great job in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia period,” the mogul told Larry King in October 2007. In 2013, he tweeted: “Will he become my new best friend?”

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Last year, Trump said that they “were stablemates” when they crossed paths before separate interviews on 60 Minutes. “I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes,” he said that November, via CNN. “We did very well that night.”

Then in July, the former Celebrity Apprentice host raised eyebrows again when he called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. ”Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said during a press conference at the time. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

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Trump’s support of Putin was a topic of contention during the election. Last month, during the final and third presidential debate, Clinton, 69, called Trump Putin’s puppet.

Trump replied: “No puppet. You’re the puppet.”

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