President Putin has discussed means of cooperation in combating terrorism in a phone conversation with President Trump. Putin, who initiated the call, wished mainly to express his gratitude to Trump for his help in preventing a terrorist act which was scheduled to take place in Russia during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The information shared via the United States special services, helped Russia to foil a planned terrorist attack in St Petersburg. In the course of the phone call on December 29th, they also discussed issued of mutual interest.
CNN reported that both leaders agreed to continue their mutual cooperation in combating terrorism which is a global threat to both countries’ security and stability. White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley issued a statement in which he said that this was the first call between the two leaders since last July. Trump also discussed with his counterpart, the state of relations between the US and Russia and future efforts to support effective arms control.
In a statement issued by the Russian Federal Security Service, it was reported that two Russians who were intending to carry out terrorist attacks in St. Petersburg on New Year's Eve, had been arrested on December 27th. Neither of the two governments has provided further details about the thwarted plot.
This is not the first time that the US has provided Russia with similar information. In 2017, the CIA told Russian special services about a planned terrorist attack at the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg. USA Today quoted Putin as saying, that Russia and the US were responsible for ensuring global security and stability throughout the year. Moscow spoke in favour of normalising bilateral relations and establishing an equal dialogue based on mutual respect of interests.
Reuters reported that Trump and Putin's unusually warm relationship has been the subject of intense inquiry since Trump took office. Trump has been facing general opposition from Republican and Democratic lawmakers over warmer ties with Russia, as they suspect that Putin encouraged Trump to become suspicious of Ukraine, thus leading to the president's impeachment this month. The US president awaits an impeachment trial by the Republican-led Senate over charges that he withdrew aid from Ukraine to pressure its government into investigating an American political opponent, USA Today reported.