Putin Says 'Radical Islamists' Carried Out Moscow Attack

But Russian leader still suggests Ukraine, with US help, was behind concert hall killings
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2024 4:26 PM CDT
Putin Blames 'Radical Islamists'
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, with members of the government and representatives of the Russian Communist Party's faction in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, observe a minute of silence Monday to pay tribute to victims of the terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall in Moscow.   (Dmitry Astakhov, Sputnik, Government Pool Photo via AP)

In an apparent acknowledgement that ISIS-K has claimed responsibility for the attack on a Moscow concert hall, Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed "radical Islamists" on Monday evening while still suggesting Ukrainians—or Americans—were complicit. "We know that the crime was committed by radical Islamists," Putin said in a televised meeting, the Washington Post reports. "We also know that the US via various channels tries to persuade their satellites and other countries that, according to their intel, there is allegedly no Kyiv trace in the Moscow terrorist attack and that it was carried out by members of ISIS."

Ukraine has denied any involvement. Russia has four suspects in custody but has not provided evidence of their involvement in the attack, which killed at least 139 people, per the New York Times. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov passed on a chance Monday to blame anyone and urged reporters to wait for the results of Russia's investigation. Putin, too, referred to "unanswered questions," one of which he said is whether the US is covering up for Ukraine. While he maintained that he knows who carried out the attack, Putin added, "We are interested in those who ordered it."

Putin said, again without evidence, per CNN, that the killers had planned to escape to Ukraine, which Russia invaded two years ago. The concert hall killings "can only be a link in the chain" of forces fighting Russia since the 2014 invasion of Crimea, aided by Ukraine, he claimed. Although ISIS released video of the attack, Putin professed skepticism that "radical and terrorist-linked Islamist organizations" would try to harm Russia, because it "stands for a fair solution to the exacerbated conflict in the Middle East." (There's reason to think the terror attack hurt Putin's image.)

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