Putin says wants constructive relations with Trump, tells Democrats that they need to be better losers

Russian President Vladimir Putin stresses a point while answering a question during his annual media conference at the International Trade Center in Moscow on Dec 23, 2016.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stresses a point while answering a question during his annual media conference at the International Trade Center in Moscow on Dec 23, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Russian President Vladimir Putin praised US President-elect Donald Trump on Friday (Dec 23), saying he had his finger on the pulse of U.S. society, and launched a scathing attack on the Democrats, saying they had forgotten the meaning of their own name and were sore losers.  

Speaking at an annual end-of-year news conference, Putin also said he hoped to discuss the normalisation of Russia-US ties with Trump.  When asked when he would meet Trump, Putin said his US counterpart would first need to appoint members of his team.

The Russian leader said a statement by Trump about the need for the United States to boost its nuclear capabilities was not a surprise and was normal.

Trump called for an expansion of the United States' nuclear capabilities on Thursday, in a tweet that alarmed non-proliferation experts who said that boosting the US arsenal could fuel global tensions.

Trump accurately read the popular mood in the United States to win the election, Putin added, although “nobody except us” believed in his success.

He “precisely felt the mood of the society and... went to the end, though nobody believed that he would win except us,” Putin said while answering a state media journalist at his annual press conference. 

The US Democratic Party was wrongly trying to blame its electoral defeat to Trump on external factors, Putin said, referring to the Democrats' allegation that Russian hackers were responsible for hacks during the election that were intended to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Putin said the party needed to learn how to lose gracefully.