Russian President Vladimir Putin tells a gathering of dignitaries in Sochi, Russia that Moscow and the West are close to swapping data on militant positions in Syria. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday (October 22) said that Russia and the West were close to swapping data on militant positions in Syria, where both Russia and the United States are flying independent bombing campaigns against Islamic State. "We see that within the anti-terrorist operation, gradually but not as intensively as we would like, some contacts between the military authorities are being established," Putin said at a meeting with foreign dignitaries in Sochi, southern Russia. "It has been a serious step forward to agree on the document regulating the flights of Russian and American military jets over Syria. We are also close to agreeing with our western colleagues on exchanging information on militants' positions and movements. Those are definitely steps in the right direction," Putin continued. Putin's comments came as the U.S. blasted Russia's strikes in Syria, saying they were strengthening Islamic State militants, killing dozens of civilians, forcing tens of thousands more from their homes, and destroying schools and markets. During a United Nations Security Council meeting on the Middle East, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power referred to a Reuters analysis of Russian Defense Ministry data that found almost 80 percent of Russia's declared targets in Syria have been in areas not held by Islamic State. Russia has said it is targeting Islamic State, along with other groups it classifies as Islamist terrorists. It has said Moscow and the West are fighting a common enemy.