Moscow Attack Fallout: Russia’s Allegations Against West and Kyiv

Moscow Attack Fallout: Russia's Allegations Against West and Kyiv
BBC

Moscow Attack Fallout: Russia’s Allegations Against West and Kyiv

Top Russian officials have directly accused Ukraine and the West of involvement in the deadly Moscow concert hall attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.

IS released a video of the atrocity, prompting Vladimir Putin and two close allies to claim that jihadists were aided by Western and Ukrainian intelligence.

However, Ukraine has vehemently rejected Russia’s accusations as “lies”.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that the US had warned Russia of an imminent attack 15 days before the incident.

According to Russian authorities, 139 people were killed when four armed men stormed the Crocus City Hall concert complex on Friday evening, with another 22 remaining in serious condition, including two children.

Four citizens of Tajikistan have appeared in court, accused of carrying out the massacre, while four others are accused of aiding terrorism.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak dismissed Russia’s claims, asserting the indisputable facts regarding the perpetrators and criticizing the incompetence of Russian security services. Western countries have also ridiculed the Kremlin’s narrative.

During a televised meeting, Putin acknowledged that the crime was committed by radical Islamists and emphasized the need to identify those behind it. However, he continued to propagate unfounded claims, suggesting a link between the attackers and Ukraine.

One of Putin’s closest allies, security council secretary Nikolai Patrushev, echoed Putin’s sentiments by unequivocally blaming Ukraine for the attack. The head of Russia’s FSB security service, Alexander Bortnikov, went further, alleging direct involvement of Western special services and Ukrainian intelligence in facilitating the attack.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Putin’s accusations as baseless and cynical.

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, a Putin ally, cast doubt on Russia’s narrative by suggesting that the attackers attempted to enter Belarus before realizing it was not possible.

The US and France have attributed sole responsibility for the attack to IS, dismissing Russia’s attempts to implicate Ukraine. Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani criticized Putin’s motives, stating that the videos of the attack and multiple IS claims confirm the group’s involvement.

The attack occurred shortly after the US embassy warned of imminent plans by extremists to target large gatherings in Moscow. Despite this warning, Putin had previously dismissed it as provocative.

Amid heightened security concerns in Western Europe, France announced the deployment of 4,000 extra soldiers, with Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin highlighting the resurgence of the external IS threat.

Germany announced temporary border controls for the European Championships, while Turkey reported the arrest of 147 individuals suspected of IS links in simultaneous raids across 30 cities. Italy intensified security measures ahead of the Easter holidays but assured the public of no concrete risks.

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