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Putin Calls U.S. Senator McCain 'Old World' But Admires His Patriotism

U.S. Republican Senator John McCain called Russian President Vladimir Putin a bigger threat than the Islamic State extremist group.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview excerpt released on June 8 said his longtime critic U.S. Senator John McCain is living in the "Old World" but he admires the former Republican presidential candidate's patriotism.

McCain, 80, last week called Putin a bigger threat to global security than the Islamic State, and warned the Senate would push for tougher sanctions against Moscow for its alleged interference in the U.S. election last year.

But Putin dismissed such criticism as "Old World" in an interview with U.S. film director Oliver Stone to be aired on U.S. television next week, while offering a bit of praise to one of the Kremlin's fiercest foes in Congress.

"I like Senator McCain to a certain extent. And I'm not joking. I like him because of his patriotism, and I can relate to his consistency in fighting for the interests of his own country," Putin said.

Putin likened McCain to the ancient Roman senator Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder, who always finished his speeches using the same words: "Carthage must be destroyed."

"People with such convictions like the Senator you mentioned, they still live in the Old World. And they’re reluctant to look into the future, they are unwilling to recognize how fast the world is changing," Putin said.

"They do not see the real threat, and they cannot leave behind the past which is always dragging them back."

Putin said the United States should work with Russia on global problems.

"Right now there are common threats we are both facing, like international terrorism. We've got to fight poverty across the world," Putin said.

"After all, we've piled up so many nuclear weapons that it has become a threat to the whole world as well. And it would be good for us to give it some thought. There are many issues to address."

With reporting by AP and TASS