Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked Mitt Romney Tuesday for rating Moscow as the United States' "number one geopolitical foe." 

The Russian leader, visiting the southern Black Sea resort of Sochi, said Romney's comments strengthened his resolve to oppose NATO's plan for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, ABC News reported. The U.S. insists the system is aimed at Iran, not Russia.

"I'm grateful to him for formulating his stance so clearly because he has once again proven the correctness of our approach to missile defense problems," Putin told reporters, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

"The most important thing for us is that even if he doesn't win now, he or a person with similar views may come to power in four years. We must take that into consideration while dealing with security issues for a long perspective," he said, speaking after a meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, according to Interfax news agency.

"The fact that Mr. Romney considers us enemy No. 1 and clearly has a poor opinion of us is a minus. But the fact that he speaks that way - directly, frankly and clearly - means that he is a direct and candid person. That's a plus," he said. "We'll focus on the pluses, not the minuses,"