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June 24, 2017

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Obama would save a drowning Putin: report

SEOUL--It's official: even though they are involved in the worst East-West clash since the Cold War, Barack Obama would save Vladimir Putin from drowning.

Obama on Friday delivered his answer to a question posed to Putin during a live television appearance earlier this month — would his U.S. rival come to his rescue?

Putin answered by saying that though he did not have a special personal relationship with Obama, he thought the U.S. leader was "a decent and brave person."

"And of course, he would."

In a rare moment of humor at an alarming moment of the Ukraine crisis, Obama confirmed he would indeed throw the Russian leader a lifeline, when questioned by a U.S. journalist.

"I absolutely would save Mr. Putin if he were drowning," Obama said.

"If anybody is out there drowning, I would save them.

"I used to be a pretty good swimmer, I grew up in Hawaii," Obama said, before adding with a rueful smile: "I am a little bit out of practice."

In a news conference with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Obama also cast his own judgment on Putin's character.

"Mr. Putin is not a stupid man," Obama said, reasoning that the Russian leader had acknowledged that Western sanctions imposed as a result of Russia's annexation of Crimea were having an impact on the Russian economy.

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