President Vladimir Putin on Thursday called for Russian intelligence agencies to bolster ties with their US counterparts in the fight against terrorism.
“Restoring dialogue with the special services of the United States and other NATO members is in our mutual interest,” Putin told the country’s FSB intelligence agency in a televised speech.
“It’s not our fault that it stopped and is not developing. It’s absolutely obvious that in the sphere of anti-terrorism all responsible states must cooperate.”
Putin’s comments come as Moscow is hoping new US leader Donald Trump makes good on his pledge to improve tattered ties with Russia and seek cooperation in the fight against the ISIL ‘jihadist’ group.
“Even a simple exchange of information about the channels and sources of terrorists, about people implicated in or suspected of terrorism seriously raises the effectiveness of our joint efforts,” Putin said.
Trump’s administration is currently facing heat over reports of its ties to Moscow — which follow allegations from the US intelligence community that Putin ordered a hacking and influence campaign to help get Trump elected.
Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama slapped sanctions on Russia’s FSB domestic agency and the GRU military intelligence over accusations they were involved in cyber attacks against the US.
In his speech Putin still lashed out at NATO over its expansion around Russia’s border — a perennial bugbear for the Kremlin — and said the US-led bloc was “constantly provoking” Moscow.
“They are always trying to provoke us, constantly provoking and trying to drag us into confrontation,” he said.
“Attempts to intervene in our internal affairs with the aim of destabilizing the social and political situation inside Russia itself do not stop.”
He said that last year Russian authorities “blocked the activity” of 53 foreign intelligence officers and 286 agents of overseas agencies.