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Russia Claims West Aided Moscow Attackers

President Vladimir Putin acknowledged "radical Islamists" had carried out Friday's massacre, alleging Ukraine's involvement.


A woman mourns at a makeshift memorial in front of the Crocus City Hall, a day after a gun attack in Krasnogorsk, outside Moscow, on March 23, 2024. (Photo by Olga MALTSEVA / AFP)

 

The head of Russia’s FSB security agency claimed Tuesday that Western and Ukrainian special services had aided the attackers who stormed a Moscow concert hall last week, killing dozens.

Russia continues to allege Ukraine was somehow involved in Friday’s massacre, even after President Vladimir Putin acknowledged “radical Islamists” had carried it out.

“We believe the action was prepared both by the radical Islamists themselves and, of course, facilitated by Western special services, and Ukraine’s special services themselves have a direct connection to this,” FSB head Alexander Bortnikov was cited as saying by Russian news agencies.

He also repeated the Kremlin’s claim that the attackers tried fleeing over the Ukrainian border, an assertion that Kyiv has called absurd.

“I’ll let you in on a little secret: they were going to be greeted as heroes on the other side,” Bortnikov said.

He added that while Russia understood who organised the attack, “the one who ordered it has not been identified yet”.

He did not provide evidence for his assertions and Ukraine has vehemently denied any role.

Islamic State jihadists have said several times since Friday that they were responsible, and IS-affiliated media channels have published graphic videos of the gunmen inside the venue.