Russian President Vladimir Putin urged closer cooperation with the U.S. in combating terrorism after the Boston bombings in which two ethnic Chechen immigrants are the suspects.
“I am simply appealing for this tragedy to bring us together in fighting common threats, of which one of the most important and dangerous is terrorism,” Putin said in a nationwide live call-in show today. “If we really unite, we won’t allow these strikes to happen and suffer such losses.”
Authorities say Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, were responsible for setting off two bombs at the Boston Marathon on April 15. The attack killed three people and injured more than 260. Dzhokhar is charged with crimes that carry the death penalty including conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death. Tamerlan died after a shootout with police.
U.S.-Russia relations have worsened since Putin returned to the presidency last year, with disputes over U.S. human-rights sanctions, support by President Barack Obama’s administration for democratic rights in Russia and American efforts to oust the leadership of Soviet-era ally Syria.
Putin criticized Western governments and media for their failure to condemn militants in Russia’s mainly Muslim North Caucasus, including in Chechnya where there have been two conflicts since the mid-1990s.
“Russia is itself a victim of international terrorism, one of the first victims,” he said.
The nationalities or religion of the attackers is irrelevant, according to Putin, who said the Boston assault was motivated by “extremist views.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, at the request of Russia’s domestic intelligence service, conducted a three-month review of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s activities in 2011, which included interviews with Tsarnaev and his family members, and an examination of communications and Internet usage, according to two law-enforcement officials who asked not to be named because the bombing investigation is continuing.
The FBI investigated the Russian tip thoroughly “and did not find terrorist activity, domestic or foreign,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said April 22. Subsequently, Russia didn’t cooperate with the FBI’s request to know if it had more specific information, according to Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who’s chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.