Putin points at Ukraine for Moscow concert attack

Vladimir Putin (Image credit X President of Russia)

Vladimir Putin (Image credit X President of Russia)

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US Embassy in Moscow had shared specific intel of possible attack

By Manish Anand

New Delhi, March 23: The death toll in the Crocus City Hall concert has risen to 113 as per the Russian officials. Several hundreds have sustained serious injuries. Russia has claimed to have arrested four perpetrators of attacks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin posted a video message in the aftermath of the concert attack near Moscow yesterday. Putin has sought to have directed his anger at Ukraine. This is despite the fact that an affiliate of the Islamic State in Afghanistan staked claims for the concert attack.

Putin said: “Four persons directly involved in the attack had been detained. They were trying to cross the border into Ukraine.” Al Arabia in a report has said that Putin provided no evidence to back his claims.

Meanwhile, the social media platforms have seen videos of alleged culprits being interrogated on camera by the Russian police. One of the accused is heard admitting that he had come from Turkey.

“At the moment the following can be said — all the four direct perpetrators of the act were trying to hide and cross into Ukraine where according to preliminary data the Ukrainian side prepared a window for them for crossing the state border,” said Putin in the video message.

Putin’s statement has come amid spotlight on the failure of the Russian intelligence. A week ago, the US Embassy in Moscow had issued a specific intelligence. The embassy had warned the citizens against visiting crowded places and concerts in the next few days. The embassy had claimed that attacks could be carried out by extremists.

Security analysts are wondering at the intelligence failure of Russia. They are arguing that Russia was caught unaware of the plans of the extremists. Russia has previously been also attacked by Islamic extremists.

Timothy Snyder, Professor of history at Yale University, in a message on the social media platform X pointed to the intelligence failure of Russia. “Russia’s security apparatus, focused on carnage in Ukraine, has failed in Moscow. Russia’s leaders, focused on demonizing the US, did not protect Russians,” Snyder said.

Before Putin made his statement, Snyder had hinted that Russia could blame Ukraine. “It would not be very surprising if the Kremlin blames Ukraine and the United States and uses the Moscow attack to justify continuing and future atrocities in Ukraine,” added Snyder.

Radio Genoa also posted a video of the Russian police questioning an accused of the concert attack. “Russian police question one of the criminals in Islamist attack on Crocus in Moscow. He admitted arriving from Turkey on March 4. He also revealed that he was offered half a million rubles ($5,400) to carry out acts of violence,” Radio Genoa stated in the transcript of the admissions by the accused.

The concert attack is being compared with the 2004 Belsan School Siege. The Islamic terrorists had then taken more than 1000 people, including the children, hostage. Russia has previously also seen attacks from Islamic terrorists.

Emil Kastehelmi, a regional security analyst, in a post on the social media platform X, has shared videos of the attacks making rounds on the Russian Telegram channels. He noted: “The video material suggests that there were at least four attackers, some sources say five. They were armed with fully automatic AK-type assault rifles.”

The videos show that the gunmen were not confronted by security personnel. They went on to shoot at anyone at sight. They targetted the concert hall to set arson for maximum damage. Ria Novosti, a Russian state media, said: “The fire was raging at the hall in the aftermath of the terror attack.”

A strong crowd had turned up yesterday for the show of the Soviet-era rock group ‘Picnic’. Dawn in its report said: “The gunmen sprayed civilians with bullets just before the rock group was to perform to a full house at the 6,200-seat the Crocus City Hall just west of Moscow.”

Kastehelmi in his thread on X said: “It would be interesting to see what will the official explanation for the attack be, who will they blame, and if they try to tie Ukraine to this”. He quoted Main Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine, saying: “The attack was a deliberate provocation by (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s special services, about which the international community warned”.

Deputy chairman of the security council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev has issued a statement after the concert attack. He said: If it is established that these are terrorists of the Kyiv regime, it is impossible to deal with them and their ideological inspirers differently. All of them must be found and mercilessly destroyed as terrorists. Including officials of the state that committed such atrocity. Death for death.”

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