The Federal Security Service later confirmed that the information provided by their US counterparts led to the arrest of two Russian citizens who planned terrorist attacks at public places in St. Petersburg during New Year’s celebrations.
The Kremlin statement didn’t give more details besides mentioning that a “range of issues of mutual interest” was discussed during the conversation initiated by Moscow and that the two leaders agreed to maintain bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
In October, the head of FSB, Aleksandr Bortnikov, revealed that contacts between the security agencies of the two countries have intensified recently, in cybersecurity and other areas. He said then that the US provided information about people who had been planning terrorist attacks in Russia.
Two years ago, Washington warned Moscow about a planned bombing at one of the main cathedrals in St. Petersburg, while Russia actively assisted the US investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
Although “sometimes politics gets in the way of helping each other out,” but not when the lives of innocent civilians are at stake, Chris Phillips, former Head of the UK’s National Counter Terrorism Security Office, commented on the exchange.
“We live in such an interconnected world that the intelligence sources that the US has obviously got are also dealing with people that are planning incidents in St Petersburg,” he told RT.