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Putin wants his spies to work closer with US intelligence agencies

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President Vladimir Putin wants to work towards "restoring dialogue" between Russian and US intelligence agencies, he has said, reported Sky News.

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

"It's in everyone's interest to resume dialogue between the intelligence agencies of the United States and other members of NATO."

Mr Putin made the call in a speech to Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB).

In November President Trump praised his Russian counterpart for being "very smart" for not engaging in a tit-for-tat row with the US after the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats accused of spying.

Instead of taking retaliatory action, Mr Putin said: "Further steps towards the restoration of Russian-American relations will be built on the basis of the policy which the administration of President D. Trump will carry out."

And both Mr Putin and Mr Trump have played down a dossier compiled by a former MI6 agent that emerged in January, shortly before he was due to enter the White House.

In the document, former British spy Christopher Steele alleged that the Kremlin colluded with Mr Trump's presidential campaign and that the Russian security services have material that could be used to blackmail him.

Mr Trump has an uneasy relationship with his own intelligence services after accusing them of allowing the release of what he called "false information".

Rather than blame Moscow, President Trump has directed his anger at those doing the leaking.

"The spotlight has finally been put on the low-life leakers! They will be caught!," he tweeted.

While both Washington and Moscow remain cautious, the two leaders have spoken of their hope for a better relationship going forward.

But Russia's defence minister has warned Washington not to try to negotiate with Moscow "from a position of strength" ahead of the first meeting between their military chiefs since Mr Trump took office.

"We are ready to restore co-operation with the Pentagon," Sergei Shoigu said in a statement.

"But attempts to build a dialogue from a position of strength in relation to Russia have no prospects."

Mr Shoigu was responding to a comment to NATO by new Pentagon chief James Mattis on Wednesday in which he said Washington wanted to make sure its diplomats had the upper hand in any talks with Russia.

Meanwhile Chancellor Angela Merkel has told a parliamentary committee examining alleged US surveillance in Germany that "spying among friends" is unacceptable.


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