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Putin: US helped separatist militants in Russia

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Russian President Vladimir Putin says the United States supported separatist militants in Russia's North Caucasus region, apparently in the 2000s.

On Sunday, Russian state television aired a documentary dedicated to Putin's 15 years in office.

In the program, Putin said one of the toughest moments of his presidency was the 2004 hostage-taking by Islamic separatist militants at a school in the city of Beslan in the North Caucasus. More than 300 people were killed.

Putin said Russian intelligence agencies intercepted direct contacts between the militants and US intelligence officials at some point in the past. He said the US officials were actually helping them, even with transportation.

Putin said nations should never try to use terrorists to further their short-term political or even geopolitical aims.

Putin's comments come amid rising anti-US sentiment in Russia since the crisis over Ukraine.

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