Hagel discusses Volgograd terrorist attacks with Russian counterpart

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called his Russian counterpart on Saturday to discuss the recent terrorist attack in Volgograd, Russia, the Winter Olympics in Sochi and the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons.

Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, summarized the call to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in a statement to the press. Hagel offered his condolences for the recent attack, condemned the attacks and said the U.S. stands with Russia against terrorism.

"The leaders discussed the need to remain vigilant against these threats and considered additional opportunities to deepen our nations' counterterrorism cooperation," Kirby said.

According to Kirby, Hagel assured his counterpart that the U.S. is ready and able to provide security assistance to Russia for the Sochi Winter Olympics if requested.

Hagel and Shoigu also discussed the efforts to remove Syria's chemical weapons stockpile and the need for Syria to fulfill its international obligations under the plan.

Last week, the U.S. State Department and White House echoed Hagel's sentiments about the December 29 Volgograd terrorist attack.

"The United States condemns the terrorist attacks that struck the Russian city of Volgograd and sends deepest condolences to the families of the victims with hopes for the rapid healing of those wounded," Caitlyn Hayden, the spokesperson for the White House's National Security Council, said.