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28 Mar, 2024 22:51

West behaving ‘suspiciously’ over Moscow terror attack claims – Lavrov

The intensity of claims that Ukraine is innocent is unusual, the Russian foreign minister has said
West behaving ‘suspiciously’ over Moscow terror attack claims – Lavrov

The US and the EU have been obsessive in insisting on Ukraine’s innocence in the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack, to the point that such behavior is suspicious, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview published on Friday.

The Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) terrorist group has claimed responsibility for last Friday’s attack just outside Moscow, in which 143 people were killed and over 200 injured. Washington and Brussels immediately declared that ISIS-K was the sole culprit and that no evidence whatsoever pointed to Kiev.

“The West is actively trying to convince everyone that this is the work of ISIS and there is no longer any need to suspect anyone, especially Ukraine,” Lavrov told Izvestia. “They keep insisting that Kiev is not to blame, to the point where it’s becoming obsessive.”

Lavrov pointed out that four suspected gunmen were attempting to flee to Ukraine when they were caught by Russian security forces.

“We have repeatedly said that we do not make any final conclusions until the investigation is completed. The investigation is still working on the facts, new circumstances are being revealed, but we simply do not have the right to exclude obvious possibilities,” the foreign minister stated.

Meanwhile, the West is “suspiciously active” in trying to persuade everyone that Ukraine had nothing to do with the attack, Lavrov said.

“Not just publicly, but they also say in contacts through our diplomatic missions: ‘There is no need to suspect Ukraine,’ but they never explain why,” he added. “From the standpoint of sound logic, answering the question ‘who benefits,’ we can’t exclude Ukraine.”

Both Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova have previously commented on the Western insistence that Kiev was not to blame, without any evidence to actually corroborate that claim. Russian intelligence and law enforcement said they have discovered evidence the suspects had received a substantial amount of cryptocurrency from Ukraine as payment for the attack.

Washington has claimed that its March 7 warning about an impending attack in Moscow amounted to counterterrorism cooperation. According to the New York Times, however, the US did not share the full intelligence it had on the attack to shield “sources and methods” from Russian scrutiny.

Lavrov noted that the public warning was addressed to Americans, in English, and not to the Russian government. He also criticized the EU for falsely claiming it had suspended cooperation with Moscow on counterterrorism in 2022, due to the Ukraine conflict.

“We tried to persuade the EU for years to establish a mechanism for exchanging information and coordinate the struggle against terrorism,” Lavrov told Izvestia. 

“We managed to set something up only in 2018, but the last meeting took place in 2019. After that, they lost all interest,” he added. “So their refusal to work with us on specific issues of counterterrorism dates long before the special military operation in Ukraine, on which they now blame all of their failures and try to hide their true intentions.”

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