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Putin seeking to blame Ukraine for Moscow shooting, despite ISIS taking responsibility

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 23, 2024 3:43 PM 3 min read
TOPSHOT - Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on the economic issues via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on April 11, 2023. (Photo by Gavriil GRIGOROV / Sputnik / AFP)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that the detained suspected perpetrators of the Moscow shooting allegedly planned to flee to Ukraine, without providing any evidence.

Putin's address was published on March 23 almost 20 hours after the shooting, which Putin called "a bloody, barbaric terrorist act."

Several gunmen opened fire at the Crocus City Hall in Krasnogorsk, northwest of Moscow, on the evening of March 22, killing 133 people and injuring at least 140, according to the latest updates by the Russian authorities.

According to Putin, a total of 11 people involved in the shooting have been detained, four of whom he called "the perpetrators."

Russia claims it detained suspected perpetrators of Moscow shooting that killed over 100 people
Russia’s security services detained 11 people allegedly involved in the March 22 mass shooting at a concert venue near Moscow, including four perpetrators, the Kremlin’s press service reported on March 23.

"They tried to escape and were moving towards Ukraine, where, according to preliminary data, a window for them to cross the state border was prepared on the Ukrainian side," Putin claimed.

Other Russian officials previously alleged Ukraine's involvement in the attack without providing any evidence and citing it as a reason to intensify Russian attacks against Ukraine.

Kyiv has dismissed the allegations of its involvement in the mass shooting. The White House said there was no indication that Ukraine was behind the Moscow attack.

Andriy Yusov, spokesperson of Ukraine's military intelligence agency, denied Russia's claims that seek to accuse Ukraine of involvement in the shooting.

"The version that the perpetrators of the terrorist attack were fleeing toward Ukraine does not withstand any criticism," he said on the national television.

In his address, the Russian president did not mention the fact that the terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the shooting, nor the warnings of Western countries about a possible terrorist attack in Moscow.

Ahead of the attack, the U.S. Embassy in Russia issued a warning on March 7 that "extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow" and urged American citizens to stay away from crowded areas and venues over the next 48 hours. The U.K., Canada, Germany, and several other countries published similar statements soon after.

Ukraine's military intelligence (HUR) called the shooting a "deliberate provocation by Putin's special services." HUR claimed the attack was intended to justify "even tougher" strikes on Ukraine and total mobilization in Russia.

In 1999, shortly before Vladimir Putin became president, a series of apartment bombings, including on the Kashirskoye highway in Moscow, rocked Russia, which were blamed on Chechen separatists, lighting the fuse for the second Chechen war.

Since then, speculation has continued that Putin and the FSB orchestrated the bombings to boost his popularity and legitimize the war.

Russia’s descent into totalitarianism: How it happened
It is difficult to pin down the exact moment that Russia began morphing into a totalitarian state. For over a decade, the Kremlin was taking away civil liberties and feeding the population a revamped and increasingly more aggressive version of nationalism. For nearly a decade, most Russians didn’t…
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