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Putin Says Russian, U.S. Intelligence Agencies Should Restore Ties

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) talks with Federal Security Service Director Aleksandr Bortnikov during a board meeting in Moscow on February 16.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Russia and the United States would benefit from restoring communications between their intelligence agencies to bolster the fight against terrorism.

"It's in everyone's interest to restore dialogue between the intelligence agencies of the United States and other members of NATO," Putin told Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), in televised remarks at a meeting of the service in Moscow on February 16.

"It's absolutely clear that in the area of counterterrorism all relevant governments and international groups should work together," he said.

Relations between the United States and Russia sunk to post-Cold War lows and many ties were broken after Russia's illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and Moscow's ongoing support of separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine.

The Russian leader also said the number of cyberattacks against Russia tripled last year compared to 2015, and urged better protection against such attacks.

Putin also told the FSB, as well as the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and the Foreign Ministry, to take additional security measures at Russian missions in foreign countries following the assassination of Andrei Karlov, Russia's ambassador to Turkey, at a photo exhibition in Ankara on December 19.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and Interfax