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Kremlin refuses to comment on Islamic State group's claim

Photo: Dmitry Lovetsky Associated Press A couple embraces in Saint Petersburg in front of a screen commemorating the Moscow attack.

France Media Agency in Moscow

1:51 p.m.

  • Europe

The Kremlin on Monday refused to comment on the Islamic State (IS) armed group's claim of responsibility for the attack near Moscow, which left 137 dead, as long as the investigation is underway, while the searches in the rubble continue.

This weekend, Vladimir Putin and his powerful security services, the FSB, did not mention jihadist involvement either, alluding to a Ukrainian lead vigorously denied by Kiev and the West.

The Russian president, who only spoke in a brief speech on Saturday, is due to hold a meeting during the day with security and political officials.

However, he has not planned to go to Crocus City Hall, the scene of the worst attack known by Russia in twenty years and the deadliest claimed by ISIS on European soil.

Outstanding Questions

Three days after the tragedy, many questions remain unanswered, particularly regarding the identity and motivations of the four suspects.

The latter, at least one of whom is from Tajikistan in Central Asia, have already been placed in pre-trial detention until May 22. They face a life sentence.

After brief hearings, three other suspects were placed in pre-trial detention on Monday until the same date. According to the Ria Novosti news agency, it concerns a father and two of his sons, one of whom, born in Tajikistan, has Russian nationality.

Russian authorities announced on Saturday that they had arrested a total of eleven people and did not immediately confirm that these three suspects were among them.

The confirmed Tajik nationality of at least one of the attackers prompted Tajikistan President Emomali Rakhmon on Monday to call on “parents to once again pay even greater attention to the education of children.” , according to Russian news agencies.

“Investigation in Progress”

Questioned by the press about the investigation, Dmitri Peskov, Vladimir Putin's spokesperson, did not provide any answers on Monday.

“The investigation is ongoing and the presidential administration would be wrong to comment on the progress of the investigation,” he simply told the press.

The Islamic State group, which Russia is fighting in Syria and which is active in the Russian Caucasus, claimed responsibility for the attack, but Russian authorities said the suspected killers were trying to reach Ukrainian territory after the attack.

kyiv, which has been fighting an assault by Russian troops since February 2022, has denied any “link with the incident.” The United States also rejected the Russian president's version.

At Crocus City Hall, investigators cleared “90% of the rubble” in the concert hall, ravaged by a gigantic fire started by the attackers, said the Ministry of Emergency Situations, cited by the TASS agency.

The number of injured stands at 182, of which 97 were still hospitalized on Monday, according to authorities.

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Dmitri Peskov also did not want to comment on the suspects' allegations of torture, which emerged after the publication of videos on social networks and photos showing them with bloody faces.

Another video, posted online and whose authenticity has not been confirmed, appears to show one of the suspects having his ear cut off by someone off-camera.

At the suspects' hearing in a Moscow court on Sunday evening, one of them had a white bandage on his ear while another arrived in a wheelchair, his eyes closed.

“Helplessness” and “failure”

One of the Russian opposition figures in exile, Leonid Volkov, denounced on Monday an attempt by the Russian security services “to divert attention from [their] powerlessness and [their] failure” by showing these videos, while repression has intensified in recent months.

Despite his promises of severe punishment, the snub remains enormous for Vladimir Putin. The attack occurred just days after his unopposed re-election for six years, when he had promised security to his fellow citizens in the midst of an upsurge in attacks from Ukraine on Russian soil.

The fight against terrorism “requires total international cooperation”, Dmitri Peskov said on Monday, but this “does not exist at all”.

French President Emmanuel Macron assured that he had offered Moscow “increased cooperation” on the subject, specifying that the branch of IS “involved” in Friday's attack had carried out these last months “several attempts” on French soil.

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