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Russian FSB boss accuses Ukraine and the West of facilitating Moscow attack

Photo: Olga Maltseva Agence France-Presse The terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall in Moscow left 139 people dead and scores injured.

France Media Agency in Moscow

1:14 p.m.

  • Europe

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

The Ukrainian authorities, supported by Washington, have repeatedly said that they had nothing to do with this terrorist attack which left 139 dead, the deadliest in twenty years in Russia and the worst claimed by ISIS 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, quoted by Russian media.

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

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”.

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 couldn’t enter Belarus. They saw this and so they changed route and went towards the Russian-Ukrainian border,” he said on Tuesday.

Earlier, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, asked by journalists whether Kiev or ISIS had orchestrated the attack, said: “Of course it is Ukraine”.

Also read

  • Putin admits 'Islamist' attack in Moscow, but still points finger at kyiv
  • The four alleged attackers of the deadly Moscow attack placed in pre-trial detention

“they changed route”

On Monday, Vladimir Putin admitted for the first time, 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.

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, claimed that the alleged attackers planned 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, estimating that the bombings of Kiev on Russian territory and the terrorist attack in Moscow “are part” of the same “series” of events .

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 'attack and Ukraine would have nothing to do with it.'

Eight suspects in custody

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

Three other suspects, including one of Russian nationality, were taken into custody on Monday.

An eighth person, 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.

Furthermore, the FSB said 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. .

Intelligence services did not specify whether the explosion was deliberately set off 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 point collecting humanitarian aid.

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