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FSB accuses Ukraine and the West of facilitating the attack near Moscow

The head of security services Russian (FSB) accusedé Tuesday Ukraine and the West for having facilitated the attack near Moscow, claimed by by the jihadist group Islamic State, with Russia insisting on a link between kyiv and the alleged attackers.

The Ukrainian authorities, supported by Washington, have repeatedly said that they had nothing to do with this attack which left 139 dead, the deadliest in twenty years in Russia and the worst claimed by IS on European soil.

“We believe that the action was prepared both by radical Islamists themselves and, of course, facilitated by Western secret services and that the Ukrainian secret services themselves are directly involved,” Alexander Bortnikov said, cited by Russian media.

He also affirmed that the alleged attackers, arrested on Saturday, were “expected” in Ukraine to be welcomed “as heroes”.

When asked about the involvement of the United States, the United Kingdom and Ukraine, Alexander Bortnikov replied: “I think that is the case.”

He added, however, that “the sponsor” had “not yet been identified”.

In the At the same time, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a close Russian ally, contradicted this account, saying the attackers had initially tried to flee to his country.

“They were unable to enter Belarus. They saw this and so they changed route and went towards the Russian-Ukrainian border,” he said on Tuesday.

A little earlier, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, asked by journalists whether Kiev or ISIS had orchestrated the attack, said: “Of course it's Ukraine “.

– “They changed route” –

On Monday, Vladimir Putin admitted for the first time times, three days after the events and the IS claim, that the alleged attackers were “radical Islamists”, while pointing the finger at Ukraine.

Several individuals opened fire on Friday in the Crocus City Hall concert hall, in the suburbs of the Russian capital, before causing a huge deadly fire.

The IS, which the Russians are fighting in Syria, in the Sahel and which is active in the Russian Caucasus, claimed responsibility for this massacre on Friday but its involvement was initially not commented on by the Russian authorities.

Russia, led by its president, affirmed that the alleged attackers intended to flee “to Ukraine”. The border between these two countries, which have been fighting each other militarily for two years, is nevertheless very difficult to cross.

“Who was waiting for them there ?”, he asked, believing that the bombings of Kiev on Russian territory and the terrorist attack in Moscow “are part of the same “series” of events.

FSB accuses Ukraine and the West of facilitating the attack near Moscow

Flowers left in front of the Crocus City Hall, target of a deadly attack, on March 25, 2024 in Krasnogorsk, a suburb of Moscow © AFP – Olga MALTSEVA

After Moscow's accusations, the Ukrainian head of state Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday described his Russian counterpart as a “sick and cynical creature”, while one of his advisers, Mykhaïlo Podoliak, denounced the next day the Russian “absurdities”.

The head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, for his part rejected on Tuesday any help from Interpol because the organization would insist on “the theory favorable to the West according to which ISIS would have committed the attack and Ukraine 'would have nothing to do with it.'

– Eight suspects in custody –

Russian authorities announced on Saturday the arrest of the four alleged attackers, who are from Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia.

Three other suspects, one of whom has Russian nationality, were placed in detention on Monday.

An eighth person, originally from Kyrgyzstan, was placed in pre-trial detention on Tuesday, Russian justice announced.

During the hearing, this man claimed, according to Ria Novosti, that he did not know the intentions of the individuals to whom he had rented an apartment after contact via a classified ads site.

The five former Soviet republics in the Tajikistan region in the lead, saw thousands of their citizens leave for Syria or Iraq in the 2010s.

FSB accuses Ukraine and the West of facilitating the attack near Moscow

Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov in Moscow on February 28, 2023. © SPUTNIK – Gavriil GRIGOROV

In addition, the FSB claimed on Tuesday that a Russian national belonging to a group allied to Ukraine and who was planning an attack had been killed in the explosion of his bomb at the time of his arrest in the Samara (Volga) region.

The intelligence services did not specify whether the explosion was deliberately triggered or accidental.

The FSB assured that it had thus avoided a “terrorist act” that this member of the Ukraine-based organization “Russian Volunteer Corps” which is fighting Russian forces, is accused of having prepared against a humanitarian aid collection point.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116