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Putin recognizes 'radical Islamists' carried out terrorist attack, claims Ukraine still involved

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 25, 2024 8:58 PM 2 min read
Russia's President Vladimir Putin delivers his address in Moscow on March 23, 2024. (Mikhail Metzel/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin said during an evening address on March 25 that the terrorist attack in a concert hall in a Moscow suburb on March 22 "was committed by radical Islamists," but still alleged that Ukraine was to blame, without providing evidence.

"The U.S., through various channels, is trying to convince everyone that there is supposedly no trace of Kyiv in the bloody terrorist attack at Crocus (concert venue), that it is the banned Islamic State," Putin claimed.

"It is necessary to get answers to a number of questions whether radical Islamists really decided to strike Russia," Putin alleged, insinuating that the attack was carried out on behalf of another "client."

Several gunmen opened fire at the Crocus City Hall in Krasnogorsk, a Moscow suburb, during a concert on the evening of March 22, killing 139 people. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack and released footage on March 23 from inside the venue.

Hours after the attack, Putin attempted to connect the attack to Kyiv, claiming that the detained suspects planned to flee to Ukraine. The White House said there was no indication that Ukraine was behind the Moscow attack.

In his address, Putin once again linked the attack with Kyiv and repeated the allegation that the suspects were headed to the Ukrainian border, a highly militarized zone.

"The purpose of the bloody terrorist attack on March 22 was to sow panic in Russian society," Putin claimed, questioning "who benefits from this" and "who was waiting for them there" at the border with Ukraine.

Of the 139 people who were killed, 40 people died from gunshot wounds, and 45 people were killed when the building caught on fire, Putin said.

A court in Moscow charged four men, all of whom are citizens of Tajikistan, with committing an act of terrorism on March 24.

The U.S. Embassy in Russia issued a warning on March 7 that "extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow." Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said on March 7 that its agents had thwarted a potential Islamic State terrorist attack on a Moscow synagogue.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on March 25 that Islamic State recently made "several attempts" at attacks on French soil.

It would be "cynical and counterproductive for Russia itself and for the security of its citizens to use this context to try and turn it against Ukraine," Macron said.

Opinion: Why ISIS attacked Russia and why Russia blames Ukraine
The terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall concert venue in a Moscow suburb was no bolt from the blue. The Kremlin dismissed U.S. intelligence warnings of an imminent attack by “extremists,” possibly to shift the blame to a convenient scapegoat when the attack came. The murder of
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