Russia has been able to thwart potential terrorists deadly bomb attack in St. Petersburg with the intelligence provided by the United States in a rare counter-terrorism cooperation between the two states despite strained relations.
Russian President Vladimir Putin telephoned US President Donald Trump on Sunday to thank him for the tip-off, which the Kremlin said helped prevent a militant bomb attack on a cathedral in the Russian city, as well as other sites.
The White House did not disclose details about the plot itself, but said the attack “could have killed large numbers of people.” Neither the Kremlin nor the White House identified the would-be attackers.
The US warning allowed Russian law enforcement agencies to arrest the suspects before they could carry out their plans, the White House and Kremlin said.
Relations between Washington and Moscow have been damaged by disagreements over the wars in Ukraine and Syria, although Trump pledged during his election campaign to pursue better ties with Moscow.
That has been complicated by US allegations – denied by Russia – that the Kremlin meddled in last year’s US presidential election to help Trump win.
The foiled attack was to have been carried out on Kazansky Cathedral, in Russia‘s second city of St. Petersburg, and on other locations in the city where large numbers of people gather, the Kremlin statement said. The cathedral is a popular tourist site.
The White House seized on the foiled plot in St. Petersburg as a sign of what Moscow and Washington could do if they cooperate. “Both leaders agreed that this serves as an example of the positive things that can occur when our countries work together,” the White House said, adding Trump appreciated the call from Putin.
The phone call on Sunday between Trump and Putin was the second of such calls in the past week. On Thursday, Putin and Trump discussed the crisis in North Korea.