Vladimir Putin has praised Donald Trump in the United States presidential race while speaking on a range of political topics at a news conference in Moscow.

Putin touched in topics of conflict zones and US politics for three hours in the conference that aimed to close gaps with Washington over Syria. He also detailed Russia's shaken economy and strained relations with Turkey over the downing of a Russian fighter jet.

Many comments drew back to Russia’s rocky relations with the US, with Putin promising to work with any leader that American voters choose.

Putin singled out Trump in particular as the “absolute leader” in the US upcoming election, after Trump said he wanted to explore closer and deeper relations with the Russian powerhouse.

“How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome that,” Putin said in the media conference. “He is a very flamboyant man, very talented, no doubt about that.”

In a statement released by campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks, Trump welcomed Putin’s words of solidarity.

“It is always a great honour to be so nicely complimented by a many so highly respected within his own country and beyond,” he said.

“I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace.”

In the conference, Putin also lashed out at Turkey for shooting down a Russian bomber in a move that was applauded by the crowd of journalists. He taunted Turkey to try mounting an attack again with Russia’s advanced air defence system now in place.

“Turkey used to violate Syrian airspace all the time,” he said.

“Let them try and fly there now.”

The November downing came less than two months after Putin joined the war in Syria, fighting on behalf of the Assad regime. When questioned on Russia’s intervention in the Syrian war, Putin said there is a plan that coincides with America’s plan of working on the constitution and preparing elections that have recognised results.

Putin told Russian media that forces will continue to serve in Syria until diplomatic actions are launched.

“For now, we are going to launch strikes and support the Syrian army in its offensive,” he said.

Putin also further denied in the conference that Russian forces were in Ukraine, where the Western-backed government clashed with pro-Moscow rebels in 2014.

“We never said that we did not have people there who are dealing with certain issues,” Putin told local media outlets.

“There are no regular Russian troops there. Feel the difference!”

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