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Ukraine's military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov speaks at the third annual Kyiv Stratcom Forum 2024 in Kyiv on March 27, 2024. (HUR/Telegram)
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Russia was aware of preparations for a terrorist attack on its soil at least since Feb. 15, Ukraine's military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said on March 27.

Several gunmen opened fire at the Crocus City Hall in Krasnogorsk, Moscow's suburb, on the evening of March 22, killing at least 139 people. A branch of the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack shortly thereafter.

Russia's security services detained 11 people in connection with the attack on March 23 and another three people on March 25. Russian top officials sought to connect the attack to Ukraine without providing any evidence. The White House said there was no indication that Ukraine was behind the shooting.

According to Budanov, Russia knew from where the attackers would come and through which two countries they would enter Russian territory.

"Don't let them tell you stories that this (attack) appeared out of nowhere," the intelligence chief commented.

Speaking at the third annual Kyiv Stratcom Forum 2024 in Kyiv, Budanov said that one possible explanation for why Russian authorities allowed the attack to happen was an internal power struggle aimed at removing some high-ranking officials from their posts.

"Another option is that they actually underestimated the scale of what would happen. They thought that it would be more local, and they wanted to blame Ukraine for everything," Budanov said.

The intelligence chief denounced the Kremlin's attempts at laying the blame for the attack on Kyiv as "nonsense," noting that Russian officials had changed their versions already three times to create some kind of connection to Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelensky called Russia's attempts to lay the blame on Ukraine "utterly predictable," adding that :(Russian President Vladimir) Putin and his thugs are just trying to blame somebody else... It has happened before."

In Putin’s Russia, state violence is on full display
When the men accused of committing last week’s terrorist attack in Moscow appeared in front of a Russian court, their battered faces told a story of physical torture. The four men — who stand accused of opening fire on crowds at Moscow’s Crocus City Hall on March 22, killing at least
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