Sergei Ivanov, the Russian Defense Minister in 2001-2007, explained that Moscow decided to cancel the drills so as not to whip up tensions between the two countries.
After the deadly attack Sergei Ivanov and Vladimir Putin held a phone conversation. The defense minister suggested cancelling the strategic nuclear forces' drills slated for September 12.
The president supported the initiative:
"Yes. No need to make the Americans nervous."
The situation was complicated by Washington's negative stance on Moscow's counterterrorist operation in Chechnya, the official said in the film about Vladimir Putin's 15 years in power.
On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four passenger planes. They flew two aircraft into the World Trade Center towers and one into the Pentagon; the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers tried to resist the hijackers. The deadly terrorist attacks claimed nearly 3,000 lives.