The Kremlin on Thursday hit out at a pre-election video promoting U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, complaining it demonized Russia’s image.
“I saw this clip. I do not know for sure if [President] Vladimir Putin saw it. [But] our attitude is negative,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a teleconference with reporters.
“It’s an open secret for us that demonizing Russia and whatever is linked to Russia is unfortunately a mandatory hallmark of America’s election campaign. We always sincerely regret this and wish the [U.S.] electoral process was conducted without such references to our country.”
The video Peskov was referring to attempts to cast doubt over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s ability to deal with Putin and U.S. opponents in general, showing the Russian leader easily throwing an opponent in a judo bout.
It then cuts to a clip of Clinton in which sounds resembling a dog barking have been overlaid before cutting to footage of Putin laughing.
The Kremlin’s dislike for the ad could put in jeopardy what’s been seen as a “bromance” between the GOP frontrunner and Putin.
On the campaign trail, Trump has spoken fondly of the Russian president, whom other White House hopefuls have characterized to as a “bully” and a “thug.” In October, Trump said he thinks he and Putin would “probably get along” very well. “And I don’t think you’d be having the kind of problems that you’re having right now,” he said.
In December, Putin returned the sentiment, calling Trump “a very colorful and talented man.” He said he viewed Trump as “the absolute leader” of the presidential race. “He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it,” Putin said.