MOSCOW, December 24. /TASS/. The Kremlin believes it is natural for national leaders to exchange information regarding crucial world issues, including the struggle against the Islamic State, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in the wake of media reports British secret services had established information exchanges with Germany’s Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel regarding Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East.
"It is only natural to exchange opinion on the most topical issues on the international agenda, such as Russian affairs, the European Union’s relations with Russia and the struggle against international terrorism. That’s standard international practice," Peskov said, adding that he had no knowledge of information exchanges between Merkel and British secret services.
According to a publication in The Times, Merkel had a meeting with the heads of Mi-5, Mi-6 and Government Communication Headquarters at Prime Minister David Cameron’s country retreat Chequers in October. Alongside the threats coming from the terrorist organization calling itself the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) the participants in the meeting exchanged information about foreign militants fighting in Syria and Iraq, as well as the radicalization of Muslims in their countries.
They had a lengthy conversation on Syria and Russia The Times said. Merkel reportedly shared with the British secret services available information about Vladimir Putin and the situations in Ukraine and Crimea. The Times says that Merkel has a closer relationship with Putin than any other western leader, so she promised to provide useful information about the Russian president and the situation in Ukraine. The daily remarks that the chiefs of British secret services sometimes arrange briefings for visiting foreign leaders.