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The two U.S. presidential hopefuls should avoid anti-Kremlin rhetoric in their campaigning, the chief executive of Russian bank VTB told CNBC on Tuesday, noting that the candidate who won the election would have to deal with Moscow.
Much has been made of the exchange of compliments between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russia's President, with the billionaire reality TV star telling NBC News last week that Vladimir Putin was a "leader, far more than our president has been a leader."
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has been markedly cooler on Putin, telling U.S. television presenter Jimmy Fallon on Monday night the Russian President had "killed off his adversaries."
On Tuesday, VTB CEO Andrey Kostin warned against stepping up the war of words, while commenting that Trump had used "less anti-Russia rhetoric in his campaigning."
"I don't think any leader should use anti-Russia rhetoric because it doesn't help when you become the president," he told CNBC in Moscow.
"Frankly speaking, I … think normal people, ordinary people like me don't very much care who will be president of the United States. It's up to the American people to elect and then I think build up a relationship with Russia," Kostin added.
He also dismissed the controversy around allegations from Clinton's camp that Russian hackers were behind the leaks of some Democratic National Committee emails.
"Sounds a little bit funny that Moscow can influence one way or another," he told CNBC. "Of course some hackers may come from Russia or China or America I don't know. I don't think seriously anyone can say these kind of people can really influence elections."
To read Kostin's views on Putin, click here.