Helena Lyng Blak
9 weeks ago

Terrorist attack in Moscow: Here’s what we know

Two burning candles in the dark against the background of blurry lights
irin-k / Shutterstock.com

It was Friday evening at Crocus City Hall, located on the outskirts of Moscow. The music venue was filled with concertgoers waiting to see the rock band Picnic when gunmen clad in camouflage stormed into the venue and opened fire.

The armed individuals, CNN writes, reportedly shot into the crowds with automatic weapons and threw a grenade or an incendiary bomb, which then started a fire.

As of Monday morning GMT, more than 130 people were reported to be killed in the attack, including three children.

The attack was the deadliest by any group in Russia in 20 years.

Islamic State claimed responsibility

On Friday, Islamic State (IS) claimed to be behind the attack, releasing a picture of the purported gunmen on Saturday, and graphic footage on Sunday, depicting the gunmen filming themselves as they carried out their attack, The Guardian writes. The BBC reports that they have verified the footage to be authentic.

It is the deadliest attack IS has claimed in Europe ever.

Ukraine denies involvement

Perhaps unsurprisingly, multiple Russian officials have suggested Ukrainian involvement, with Putin himself saying that “a window was prepared” on the Ukrainian side of the Russian-Ukrainian border for the perpetrators to escape into Ukraine, CNN reports.

Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, have vehemently denied Ukrainian involvement in the attacks. “What happened in Moscow yesterday is obvious, and Putin and other scums are trying to shift the blame to someone else,” Zelenskyy states in a post on X.

American warning

On March 7, the US warned its expatriates living in Russia that it was monitoring reports that extremists had “imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts, and U.S. citizens should be advised to avoid large gatherings over the next 48 hours."

According to the BBC, the US also shared their intel with the Russian government under a “duty to warn” policy, but it was at the time disregarded as propaganda.

On Saturday, the Russian ambassador to the US denied the American claim, stating, according to ABC News that, “nothing was transferred to us."

Three days before the attack, President Vladimir Putin, however, said: "Recent provocative statements by a number of official Westerns structures about the possibility of terrorist attacks in Russia... resembles outright blackmail and an intention to intimidate and destabilise our society."

Arrests

On Saturday, the Kremlin announced that 11 individuals suspected of being involved in the attack had been arrested, including the four alleged gunmen. The suspects were all brought to court on Sunday.

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