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Russia’s FSB chief accuses Ukraine, US and UK of being behind Moscow shooting

Russia’s FSB chief accuses Ukraine, US and UK of being behind Moscow shooting
epa11241509 An Orthodox priest conducts a service before the mourning ceremony in memory of the victims of the terrorist attack at the Crocus City Hall concert venue in Krasnogorsk, outside Moscow, Russia, 24 March 2024. Russia started a day of national mourning for the victims of the terrorist attack in Crocus City Hall in Krasnogorsk. On 22 March, a group of gunmen attacked the Crocus City Hall in the Moscow region, Russian emergency services said. According to the latest data from the Russian Investigative Committee, 137 people died and more than 100 were hospitalized. On the morning of 23 March, the director of the Russian FSB, Alexander Bortnikov, reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the detention of 11 people, including all four terrorists directly involved in the terrorist attack. EPA-EFE/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

The director of Russia's most powerful security agency said on Tuesday that he believed Ukraine, along with the United States and Britain, were involved in the attack on a concert hall just outside Moscow that killed at least 139 people.

  • Bortnikov says Ukraine involved in concert attack
  • Ukraine says the claims are lies
  • Russia provides no evidence for accusations
  • Islamic State has claimed responsibility
  • FSB chief says US and Britain also involved

By Guy Faulconbridge

Ukraine, which has repeatedly denied any link with Friday’s attack, dismissed the Russian accusations as lies. Britain said they were “utter nonsense”. Islamic State, the militant group that once sought control over swathes of Iraq and Syria, claimed responsibility for the mass shooting.

“We believe that the action was prepared by both the Islamist radicals themselves and was facilitated by Western special services,” Alexander Bortnikov, director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), said on television.

“The special services of Ukraine are directly related to this,” Bortnikov said, adding Kyiv had helped prepare Islamist radicals at an unidentified location in the Middle East.

When asked by Russian reporters if Ukraine and its allies, the United States and Britain, were involved in the attack on the concert hall, Bortnikov said: “We think that’s the case. In any case, we are now talking about the texture that we have. This is general information.”

Bortnikov, 72, who has served as head of the FSB since 2008, said Russia had yet to identify those who specifically ordered the deadliest attack inside Russia for two decades, but said that retaliatory measures would be taken.

He offered no specific evidence for the claims, which hardliners in Moscow could use to justify an escalation of the war in Ukraine and to explain how Russian security services failed to prevent the attack.

Since President Vladimir Putin sent forces into Ukraine in 2022, the Kremlin has cast the West – and particularly the United States and Britain – as enemies whose decision to support Ukraine essentially outs them as parties to war with Russia.

Russia has repeatedly said that blasts on the Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea in September 2022 were carried out by the United States and Britain. Washington and London have denied those accusations.

 

‘ISIS OR UKRAINE?’

Russian news outlet SHOT published a video of an exchange in which a reporter asked Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, whether it was “ISIS (Islamic State) or Ukraine?”

“Of course Ukraine,” Patrushev replied. Asked about the remark later, he said there were “many” indications of Ukrainian involvement.

Senior Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak dismissed the Russian claims as lies.

“The lies are officially spread by Patrushev, and after that by the head of the FSB Bortnikov,” Podolyak said.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron posted on X: “Russia’s claims about the West and Ukraine on the Crocus City Hall attack are utter nonsense.”

The remarks by Patrushev and Bortnikov offer an insight into hawkish thinking at the top of the Kremlin elite. The FSB, the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, is one of Russia’s most powerful institutions.

The United States has intelligence confirming Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for a deadly shooting at a concert near Moscow, two U.S. officials said on Friday.

U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said Washington earlier this month shared intelligence with Russia about a planned attack in Moscow.

Bortnikov, when asked about the information supplied by Washington, said it was not always very concrete information.

Putin said on Saturday in an address to the nation that all those responsible for the concert attack would be punished.

On Monday, he said for the first time that radical Islamists had carried out the attack but that the attackers were trying to flee to Ukraine, and he questioned why Islamists would want to attack Russia at this time without being nudged to by others.

“We know that the crime was carried out by the hand of radical Islamists with an ideology that the Muslim world has fought for centuries,” Putin said. “We want to know who ordered it.”

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge in Moscow; additional reporting by William James; Editing by Andrew Osborn, Mark Heinrich and Barbara Lewis)

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    What utter idiots and psychopaths- just like their mass-murdering and evil monster Putin. The lies, propaganda, deceit, delusion and misinformation is so intrinsic in these deranged Putin poodles that it is so pathetic and laughable that only a most dimwitted or brainwashed idiot would believe. Instead of blaming others for all your self-imposed problems, look at yourselves and your actions and behavior in the world. You reap what you sow and it is coming home to roost.

  • EK SÊ says:

    It took Russia 4 days to count the dead. Israel, months. But the Hamas run department of health can say how many dead within the hour?

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