×

Putin thanks Trump for CIA tip he says stopped bomb plot

  • In this undated video grab provided by the RU-RTR Russian television via APTN in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) operatives detain a suspected member of the Islamic State group's cell in St. Petersburg, Russia. The FSB said Friday the suspects were plotting a suicide bombing and a series of other explosions in the city's busiest areas this coming weekend. (Russian Federal Security ServiceAP video via AP)

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to a question during his annual news conference in Moscow on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. AP

  • FILE - In a Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump talks with reporters as he departs from the South Lawn of the White House via Marine One in Washington, to spend the weekend at Camp David in Maryland. President Donald Trump’s team on Sunday was again forced to grapple with the growing Russia probe that has shadowed the White House for much of the president’s initial year in office. Special counsel Robert Mueller has gained access to thousands of emails sent and... Susan Walsh

  • In this undated video grab provided by the RU-RTR Russian television via APTN in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) operatives detain a suspected member of the Islamic State group’s cell in St. Petersburg, Russia. The FSB said Friday the suspects were plotting a suicide bombing and a series of other explosions in the city’s busiest areas this coming weekend. (Russian Federal Security Service video via AP)



Associated Press
Sunday, December 17, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin telephoned U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday to thank him for a CIA tip that helped thwart a series of bombings in St. Petersburg, the Kremlin said.

During the call, the two leaders’ second in three days, Putin expressed gratitude for the CIA information. The Kremlin said it allowed Russia’s top domestic security agency to track down a group of suspects that planned to bomb Kazan Cathedral and other crowded sites this weekend.

“The information received from the CIA proved sufficient to find and detain the criminal suspects,” the Kremlin said.

It added that Putin asked Trump to convey gratitude to the CIA and assured him that “if the Russian intelligence agencies receive information about potential terror threats against the United States and its citizens, they will immediately hand it over to their U.S. counterparts via their communications channels.”

The CIA’s tip to Russia comes even as Russia-U.S. ties have plunged to their lowest level since the Cold War era – first over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine, more recently over allegations that Moscow interfered in the U.S. presidential election to help Trump.

While Russian officials have said the two countries were continuing to exchange a terror-related intelligence, Sunday’s statement from the Kremlin was Russia’s first public assertion that information from the United States helped prevent an attack.

The conversation was the second between the Russian and U.S. presidents since Thursday, when Trump thanked Putin for his remarks “acknowledging America’s strong economic performance,” according to the White House.

During the first call, they also discussed ways to work together to address North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic weapons program, the White House said.

The Federal Security Service, or FSB, announced Friday that seven suspected followers of the Islamic State group had been arrested for allegedly planning to carry out terror attacks in St. Petersburg this weekend.

The agency said the suspects were plotting a suicide bombing in a church and a series of other explosions in the city’s busiest areas this coming weekend on ISIS orders. It said a search of a St. Petersburg apartment found explosives, automatic weapons and extremist literature.

Russian news reports said that Kazan Cathedral, a landmark 19th century Russian Orthodox church on St. Petersburg’s central Nevsky Prospect, was the prime target.