Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked President Trump on Sunday for information United States intelligence agencies provided that helped thwart "a major terror attack" in St. Petersburg.
"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. No Russian lives were lost and the terrorist attackers were caught and are now incarcerated," a readout from the White House stated.
"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. President Trump stressed the importance of intelligence cooperation to defeat terrorists wherever they may be. Both leaders agreed that this serves as an example of the positive things that can occur when our countries work together."
Both leaders also expressed their thanks to CIA Director Mike Pompeo, his team, and the entire intelligence community.
Putin also assured the president that if Russia ever had intelligence information about a potential terror attack in the United States they would immediately share the information.
Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said Friday that seven Islamic State sympathizers were arrested for planning terror attacks in the city this weekend, including a suicide bombing in St. Petersburg's Kazansky Cathedral in addition to other high-traffic areas in the city, the Associated Press reports.
Explosive devices, automatic weapons, and extremist propaganda were found while searching one St. Petersburg apartment.
Russian TV stations have aired footage daily since Friday of the suspects in the foiled attacks being apprehended and questioned. One segment showed FSB operatives outside a St. Petersburg apartment building detaining a suspect, who appeared later saying he was told to prepare homemade bombs rigged with shrapnel.
“My job was to make explosives, put it in bottles and attach pieces of shrapnel,” the suspect, identified by Russian media as 18-year old Yevgeny Yefimov, said in the footage released by the FSB.
Several other suspects came from mostly Muslim regions in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus, and one man was from the ex-Soviet nation of Tajikistan that borders Afghanistan.
The TV reports included footage of a metal container, which the suspects used as a laboratory for making explosives, according to the FSB. Another video showed operatives breaking the doors and raiding an apartment used by other suspects.
Last week, the FSB said it also arrested several IS-linked suspects in Moscow, where they allegedly were plotting a series of suicide bombings to coincide with New Year’s celebrations. (AP)
Had the plot been successful, it would've been the first major terror attack since April, when a suicide bomber in St. Petersburg's subway killed 16 and injured more than 50 others.