Putin thanks Trump for CIA tip over bomb plot

Putin thanks Trump for CIA tip over bomb plot

MOSCOW - The Associated Press
Putin thanks Trump for CIA tip over bomb plot

Russian President Vladimir Putin telephoned U.S. President Donald Trump on Dec. 17 to thank him for a CIA tip that helped thwart a series of bombings in St. Petersburg, the Kremlin and the White House said.

During the call, the two leaders’ second in three days, Putin expressed gratitude for the CIA information. The Kremlin said it led Russia’s top domestic security agency to a group of suspects that planned to bomb St. Petersburg’s 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.

The White House said in its readout of the conversation that “based on the information the United States provided, Russian authorities were able to capture the terrorists just prior to an attack that could have killed large numbers of people.” The White House added that Putin extended his thanks and congratulations to CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the entire agency.

Trump then called Pompeo “to congratulate him, his very talented people, and the entire intelligence community on a job well done!”

“President 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,” the White House said in its statement.

The Federal Security Service, or FSB, announced on Dec. 15 that seven suspected followers of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had been arrested for allegedly planning to carry out terror attacks in St. Petersburg last weekend.

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