Putin recognizes that the Moscow attack was Islamist, but insists on linking Ukraine

This Monday morning the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, refused to comment on the authorship of last Friday's terrorist attack, which caused 137 deaths and 153 injuries in the Crocus City auditorium, in Krasnagorsk, on the outskirts of Moscow, and said that " the investigation is ongoing” and “so far, no version has been presented at all”, which unleashed conspiracy theories in the Russian media to point out the complicity not only of Ukraine but also of the West.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
25 March 2024 Monday 04:20
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Putin recognizes that the Moscow attack was Islamist, but insists on linking Ukraine

This Monday morning the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, refused to comment on the authorship of last Friday's terrorist attack, which caused 137 deaths and 153 injuries in the Crocus City auditorium, in Krasnagorsk, on the outskirts of Moscow, and said that " the investigation is ongoing” and “so far, no version has been presented at all”, which unleashed conspiracy theories in the Russian media to point out the complicity not only of Ukraine but also of the West. Having prepared the ground, President Vladimir Putin was finally able to allude in the evening to the Islamic State – which had claimed responsibility for the massacre – but without mentioning it.

“How do radical Islamists, who position themselves as orthodox Muslims, who profess what is known as pure Islam, proceed to commit horrible barbarities and crimes in the holy month for Muslims, Ramadan?” he asked, according to the Efe agency. . Next, it was questioned again whether, “radical and Islamic terrorist organizations are really interested in launching attacks against Russia, which today advocates for a fair settlement to the acute conflict in the Middle East.” Putin responded to himself: “This atrocity may be just one link in a whole series of attempts by those who have been at war with our country since 2014 at the hands of the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”

Four captured alleged gunmen were brought before the judge on Sunday with signs of having been beaten and/or tortured. Two pleaded guilty. A third, in a wheelchair and with a catheter, was barely conscious. All four are originally from Tajikistan. This is Dalesdzhon Mirzoyev, 32 years old and father of four children; Shamsidin Fariduni, 25, who would have declared that he acted for money (about 5,000 euros); Saidakrami Rachabalizdoda, 30, who had part of her ear cut off during an interrogation, as shown in a video posted on Telegram. Finally, Muhamadsobir Faizov, 19, who was lying in the chair, reportedly lost an eye.

Dmitri Peskov, in his morning statement, did not mention seven other detainees, of whom nothing was revealed. They were joined this Monday by three others, two brothers and their father – Aminchon, Dilovar and Isroil Islomov – who were sentenced to two months of preventive detention. Dilovar reportedly recently sold the Renault Symbol used by the suspects to Shamsidin Fariduni. The brothers had themselves gone to the police upon learning that the vehicle was involved, according to the Mediazona portal.

Putin said on television on Saturday that the four suspects were heading by car to Ukraine, where “a hole had been opened for them to cross the border,” thus confirming the version given by the FSB (former KGB). “We must answer the question of why (...) they tried to flee right to Ukraine,” he insisted this Monday.

It was the message of vindication of the Islamic State-Khorasan that led to polishing a first version of what happened, noted Nóvaya Gazeta Europa: “The attack was no longer the work of Ukraine alone, but was orchestrated with the help of Western powers and “He made it look like an Islamist terrorist attack.” Margarita Simonián, director of the RT channel, had already rushed to say that “it is evident why the American media shouted in unison that it was ISIS” (the IS) and that “the authors were selected in such a way that they could convince the stupid world community that was ISIS.”

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova went further, insisting in Komsomolskaya Pravda that Western services were responsible, according to the old Russian theory that IS was a creation of the United States. The same medium interviewed Andréi Klintsevich, director of the Center for the Study of Political and Military Conflicts, who said that in that concert “the main role is for the British” because “influencing the enemy through terrorism is one of its elements.” ”. Klintsevich alluded to the fact that one of the gunmen was recorded on a security camera on March 8. “And the Americans notified us precisely on the 7th,” he said.

Washington's notice to Moscow would have been both private and public, and based on capturing conversations between members of IS-Khorasan. But Putin dismissed it as a Western attempt to “intimidate and destabilize.” According to the Russian Telegram channel VCHK–OGPU, the terrorists initially wanted to attack during a concert on March 9 “but a warning from the American embassy changed the plans. “Russian intelligence services were never able to determine who or where the threat came from.”

The acts of mourning and tribute to the victims continued this Monday, as well as the identification of bodies. 76 people, including 4 children, remained hospitalized; of them, 23 in serious condition and 6 in extremely serious condition. A certain climate of tension also remained. Since last Saturday, several bomb threats have been reported in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Ufa, Volgograd, Bryansk and the Sverlovsk region. Most of them affected shopping centers (three, this Monday in Moscow), but also a hospital in the capital that was receiving people injured in the terrorist attack and from which 700 people had to be evacuated this Monday. On Saturday, police seized a car with weapons and bulletproof vests in front of a shopping center in Vladivostok, according to local media.