NEW YORK – US Republican nominee Donald Trump, who was called as a “really brilliant and talented person” by President Vladimir Putin, Wednesday returned the favour to the Russian president by declaring him a better leader than United States President Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, Democratic contestant Hillary Clinton said she regretted her decision as US senator to back Iraq War, further adding that Trump was also the supporter of the controversial war.

Participating in NBC’s “Commander-in-Chief” debate in New York, where majority of the attendees were US military veterans, Trump went on to say: “If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him.”

He further added that Russian President Putin has been a leader far more than President Obama.

On the occasion, he also criticised Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who previously served as Secretary of the State during the first Obama term, for ignoring the advices of military generals while making key decisions.

Referring to the recent classified intelligence briefings he attended after nomination, Trump said “There was one thing that shocked me, what I did learn is that our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow what our experts … said to do, and I was very, very surprised. …Our leaders were not following what they recommended:

The Republican candidate said that Hillary Clinton had been in power for last thirty years and she failed to change anything and that now the people of America needed change very quickly.

At one point, making a reference to 2012 Benghazi attack, Trump said “She made a terrible mistake in Libya,” which was immediately responded by Clinton in words: “We made the world safer” by not allowing a civil war in Libya.

During the debate, Hillary Clinton faced huge criticism for mishandling the classified information during her time at the State Department. However, she did her best to defend herself, saying “None of the emails sent or received by me was top secret.”

Responding to another question, she also expressed regret towards her decision to vote in favour of 2003 Iraq War, which according to her eventually resulted in the establishment of the Islamic State militant group in the Middle East.

This is the first time when the presidential nominees of the two major US political parties have faced each other on the same stage. Three major debates on the national policies are also due to take in September and October, before the November 8 polling day.