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Kremlin Says CIA Helped Russia Thwart Terrorist Attacks In St. Petersburg

RFE/RL December 17, 2017

The Kremlin says that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) provided information that helped Russia thwart planned terrorist attacks in St. Petersburg.

In a December 17 telephone call, Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked U.S. President Donald Trump for information that helped track down and "detain terrorists," the Kremlin said in statement.

The White House confirmed the call and said in a statement that Trump "appreciated the call and told President Putin that he and the entire United States intelligence community were pleased to have helped save so many lives."

"President Trump stressed the importance of intelligence cooperation to defeat terrorists wherever they may be," the White House statement said.

The statement came two days after Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said it had arrested seven suspected Islamic extremists accused of plotting to carry out a string of terrorist attacks in St. Petersburg.

It also came three days after Trump and Putin held a phone conversation about North Korea that the U.S. president described as "great."

The Kremlin said that Putin asked Trump to relay his thanks to CIA Director Mike Pompeo and U.S. intelligence officers "who obtained this information" about the alleged terror suspects.

"Vladimir Putin assured Donald Trump that Russian security services that receive information about terrorist threats to the United States and its citizens will immediately hand it over to their American colleagues," the Kremlin said.

The statement came two days after Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said it had arrested seven suspected Islamic extremists accused of plotting to carry out a string of terrorist attacks in St. Petersburg.

It also came three days after Trump and Putin held a phone conversation about North Korea that the U.S. president described as "great."

Trump has repeatedly said he wants to improve relations with Moscow and that counterterrorism efforts in Syria and elsewhere could serve as a cornerstone of better ties.

But relations between Moscow and Washington continue to be mired in tension over what U.S. intelligence agencies say was a Russian campaign to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Russian interference in Ukraine, and mutual accusations of violating arms-control agreements.

Multiple U.S. investigations are under way into the alleged election meddling and whether associates of Trump colluded with Moscow. Putin denies that Russia interfered, and Trump says there was no collusion.

In a December 14 news conference in Moscow, Putin offered a positive assessment of Trump's presidency, citing growing markets, and said that he hoped U.S-Russian ties will recover.

But he also repeated Moscow's denial that it interfered in last year's U.S. presidential election and its accusation that Washington had violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

Washington alleges that Russia has developed a missile that violates the treaty.

Earlier on December 17, Trump's ambassador to Russia said on Twitter, "I think we will expect to see further improvements in the U.S.-Russia relationship."

"The American people expect it and demand it, and the Russian people expect it and demand it as well," U.S. Ambassador John Huntsman added in the tweet posted by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, TASS, and Interfax

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/us-russia-cia-helped-thwart -petersburg-attack/28923277.html

Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.



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