Washington: Russian President Vladimir Putin has called to thank his US counterpart Donald Trump for a CIA tip-off that helped foil a major terror strike in St Petersburg, the White House said today, the second telephonic talk between the two leaders in four days.
Putin told Trump that the information provided by the CIA allowed Russian law enforcement agencies to track down and detain a group of suspects who were planning to bomb the centrally located Kazan Cathedral and other crowded parts of Russia’s second-largest city.
“Based on the information the US provided, Russian authorities were able to capture the terrorists just prior to an attack that could have killed large numbers of people,” the White House said in a readout of yesterday’s call. A similar readout by the Kremlin said the information shared by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) allowed Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to detain the suspects plotting a suicide bombing in the city’s crowded areas.
No Russian lives were lost and the terrorist attackers were caught, the White House said. “Trump appreciated the call and told Putin that he and the entire US intelligence community were pleased to have helped save so many lives,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
Trump stressed the importance of intelligence sharing to defeat terrorists, she said, adding that the two leaders agreed that this serves as an example of the positive thing that can occur when the countries work together. Putin also thanked the CIA and its director Mike Pompeo.
“President Trump then called Director Pompeo to congratulate him, his very talented people, and the entire intelligence community on a job well done!” the White House said. Yesterday’s call was the second between Trump and Putin in three days. They last spoke by telephone on Thursday, when they discussed US-Russian ties and the increasing tensions surrounding North Korea.
The leaders’ relationship is embroiled in controversy by the ongoing investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties to Moscow. US intelligence agencies have previously concluded that Russia tried to meddle in the 2016 presidential election in an effort to help Trump get elected. Putin has denied the accusation.
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