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Kremlin points to CIA terror plot tipoff as shining example of cooperation

On December 17, Vladimir Putin thanked his US counterpart, Donald Trump, for the CIA tipoff that led to the capture of terrorists who had plotted bomb attacks in St. Petersburg

MOSCOW, December 18. /TASS/. The US Central Intelligence Agency’s information handed over to Russia about preparations for a terrorist attack in St. Petersburg is a perfect sample of US-Russian cooperation in the struggle with terrorism, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told the media.

"Certain contacts between the two countries’ special services are sporadic, but in this particular case it was a very useful piece of information that helped save many lives. This cannot but evoke satisfaction and a feeling of gratitude and be interpreted as a perfect sample of bilateral cooperation in the struggle against terrorism. This is precisely the kind of standards worth pursuing in our future course."

He recalled that Russian President Vladimir Putin had said more than once not a single country was capable of resisting terrorism effectively enough on its own, "and this is a very graphic example showing that effective struggle against terrorism is possible only in the context of cooperation by various countries, in the first place, Russia and the United States."

Peskov agreed that the information shared by the CIA was the first fruitful case of bilateral cooperation by secret services.

"Possibly, it will be right to say so," Peskov remarked.

He confirmed that the information had been used by the federal security service FSB for detaining in St. Petersburg seven members of a terrorist cell of the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia). The FSB declared the detention on December 15. Peskov avoided disclosing any details of the information exchange. In part, he refrained from replying to speculations if the CIA’s information contained evidence the detainees might have been using the messenger Telegram for coordination.

"I cannot say anything on that score. I do not have such information," Peskov said.

The issue of a new meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump was not discussed during the two presidents’ latest telephone contacts, he said. 

Putin and Trump held two telephone conversations at the end of last week. On Friday, December 15, they, according to the Kremlin, discussed pressing bilateral issues and the situation in crisis areas with an emphasis on resolving the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula.

On Sunday, December 17, the two leaders spoke over the phone once again. This time, Putin thanked Trump for the data provided by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which helped detain the terrorists who were preparing explosions in St. Petersburg’s Kazan Cathedral and in other crowded places in the city. The information received from the CIA turned out to be sufficient for detecting and arresting the criminals, the Kremlin reported.

During the conversation, the Russian head of state asked the US president to convey his gratitude to the CIA director and the US intelligence operatives who obtained this information. Putin also assured Trump that the Russian intelligence services, if they receive information concerning terrorist threats against the US and its citizens, will promptly hand it over to their American counterparts through partnership channels.