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25 Mar, 2024 18:36

Moscow terror attack could be linked to Ukraine – Putin

The gunmen have been identified as ‘radical Islamists’ but Moscow is searching for those who ordered the raid
Moscow terror attack could be linked to Ukraine – Putin

The deadly terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall was a clear attempt to intimidate Russia and serves the interests of the Ukrainian government, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday. 

More than 130 people were killed at the concert venue northwest of Moscow on Friday evening, when several armed men began shooting into the crowd and set the hall on fire. Speaking with law enforcement and regional officials on Monday evening, Putin argued the atrocity fit the pattern of actions by Kiev.

“This atrocity may be only a link in a whole series of attempts by those who have been fighting our country since 2014, using the neo-Nazi Kievregime as their hand,” Putin said. “And the Nazis, as is well known, never hesitated to use the most dirty and inhumane means to achieve their goals.”

A terrorist group calling itself Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) has claimed responsibility for the concert venue massacre. The US and the EU swiftly insisted that Ukraine had nothing to do with the attack and that ISIS-K, a shadowy group allegedly operating in Afghanistan and Central Asia, was the sole culprit.

Russian security services have apprehended a dozen suspects, including seven alleged perpetrators, intercepted as they drove towards the border with Ukraine. They were identified as Tajik nationals. Speaking on Monday evening, Putin described them as “radical Islamists.”

A question that needs answering is why the terrorists headed for Ukraine after carrying out the attack, Putin said.

“Who was waiting for them there? It is clear that those who support the Kiev regime do not want to be accomplices and sponsors of terrorism. But a lot of questions remain,” he added.

While Russia knows who pulled the trigger, the president said, Moscow still needs to find who gave the order. He made it clear that Kiev is his primary suspect, however.

With Ukraine’s military losing on the frontline, Kiev has attempted to breach the Russian border, shelled civilians in Belgorod and launched missiles at Crimea, Putin noted at the meeting. All of these actions “create a logical sequence to a terrorist attack,” seeking both to intimidate Russia and fortify domestic morale, so that Ukrainians would continue “obeying orders” from Washington and keep fighting, he added.