The Russian government contacted first the FBI and then the CIA in 2011 with concerns about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, U.S. officials said. The FBI said it had asked for more information from Russia, but none was provided.
Putin said Thursday that the Russian special services had no information to give because the Tsarnaevs had spent so little time in Russia.
Putin warned against trying to find the roots for the Boston tragedy in the suffering endured by the Chechen people, particularly in mass deportations of Chechens to Siberia and Central Asia on Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's orders. "The cause isn't in their ethnicity or religion, it's in their extremist sentiments," he said.
The suspects are ethnic Chechens and their father's family was deported to Central Asia in the 1940s. The Tsarnaev family moved back to Chechnya in the early 1990s, but soon fled back to Kyrgyzstan after fighting broke out between Chechen separatists and Russian troops, whose bombs and artillery pummeled Chechen cities and town.
Putin criticized the West for refusing to declare Chechen militants terrorists and for offering them political and financial assistance in the past.
"I always felt indignation when our Western partners and Western media were referring to terrorists who conducted brutal and bloody crimes on the territory of Russia as rebels," Putin said.
The U.S. urged the Kremlin to seek a political settlement in Chechnya and criticized rights abuses by Russian troops during the two separatist wars. It also provided humanitarian aid to the region during the fighting in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Russian officials have claimed that rebels in Chechnya have close links with al-Qaida.
Putin said the West should have cooperated more actively with Russia in combatting terror.
"We always have said that we shouldn't limit ourselves to declarations about terrorism being a common threat and engage in closer cooperation," he said. "Now these two criminals have proven the correctness of our thesis."
AP writers Vladimir Isachenkov and Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.