Russian President Vladimir Putin again sent a Christmas and New Year message to President Donald Trump and invited him to visit Moscow after Putin spoke with the president and thanked him for informing Moscow of a planned terrorist attack.
“President Putin of Russia called to thank me and the U.S. for informing them of a planned terrorist attack in the very beautiful city of Saint Petersburg,” the president wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.
Russian authorities, he added, “were able to quickly apprehend the suspects, with many lives being saved” in a move that he described as “great [and] important coordination!”
The phone call was the first one between Trump and Putin since July and was initiated by Russia.
On Monday, Putin issued holiday greetings to Trump and other foreign leaders, inviting Trump to visit Moscow.
“In a Christmas and New Year greeting message to President of the United States of America Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin noted that Russia and the U.S. were historically responsible for ensuring global security and stability, and that Moscow speaks in favor of normalizing bilateral relations and establishing an equal dialogue based on the mutual respect of interests,” the statement said, according to The Washington Post and CNN. “The President of Russia also reaffirmed his invitation to Donald Trump to visit Moscow to take part in the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War,” a Soviet term that Russia still uses to describe its fighting during World War II.
Russia’s Federal Security Service arrested two Russian nationals on Dec. 27 “on the basis of information provided earlier by the American partners,” a spokesman told state-run TASS.
The two nationals “had planned to commit terror attacks in places of mass gathering in St. Petersburg during the New Year holidays,” the spokesman added.
The Dzerzhinsky District Court ruled that the suspects identified as Nikita Semyonov and Georgy Chernyshev should remain in custody pending their trial. Russia’s intelligence service, the FSB, didn’t elaborate on their alleged motives or targets, but Russia’s state television reported that the suspects had recorded a video swearing their allegiance to the ISIS terrorist group.
In December 2017, Putin similarly thanked Trump for a CIA tip that helped thwart a series of bombings in St. Petersburg. The Kremlin said then that the CIA information led the FSB to nab a group of suspects that planned to bomb St. Petersburg’s Kazan Cathedral and other crowded sites.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.