Russia Announces 'Substantiated Evidence' Of Ukraine Link To Crocus Hall Terrorists

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Mar 28, 2024 - 10:00 PM

Russian authorities say they have found a firm link between the suspects in last week's terror attack on the Crocus City Hall complex and "Ukrainian nationalists" - according to a Thursday announcement. 

The Russian Investigative Committee has unveiled preliminary findings, stating that the perpetrators who last Friday killed 140 people and wounded many more had received "significant sums of money" from Ukraine.

Putin has acknowledged that Islamic extremists were behind the attack, but still maintains accusations of a "Ukraine direction".

Investigators claim to have in their possession "substantiated evidence" that the attackers received payments from Ukraine in the form of cryptocurrency. 

President Putin had starting Saturday asserted that the terrorists were apprehended just before trying to cross the Ukrainian border. He alleged that the Ukrainians might have been preparing a "window" for them to cross. There were four gunmen who rampaged through the mall and concert venue on Friday, randomly shooting innocent bystanders, but in total eleven were initially arrested, followed by several more arrests of alleged conspirators.

Days following Putin's speech the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Aleksandr Bortnikov, told a press briefing that the Kremlin considers that the US, UK and Ukraine may have been involved.

Importantly, the Kremlin has acknowledged the perpetrators to to be radical Islamic terrorists, and so have said there is some truth to the 'ISIS-K' narrative presented by the West; however, Russian officials have persistently raised the question of another entity, country, or intelligence service ultimately backing the attack. For example on Wednesday foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova had this to say:

"Of course, the speed with which they were able to [come to such forthright conclusions] is astonishing. It took them only a few hours to get to a microphone, turn on the lights, summon the press, and draw a conclusion about who is to blame for this horribly bloody terrorist attack."

Russian intelligence (FSB) has meanwhile claimed the terrorists would have been "welcomed as heroes" if they had made it to Ukraine. All four gunmen have since been identified as Tajik nationals - and none of those in detention are Russian citizens, according to Moscow authorities.

As for the new allegations that they had financial links to Ukraine, no evidence was presented publicly to back the statements. It also remains unclear whether these alleged funding links are connected to Ukrainian government entities or just individuals inside Ukraine.

The White House meanwhile is not buying any of this. In response, on Thursday the Biden administration rejected these new Russian claims as "nonsense" and said it was clear that the Islamic State was "solely responsible". White House national security spokesperson John Kirby in a briefing also reiterated that Washington had passed info on to Moscow that a terror attack was imminent. Kirby described this as delivered in the form of a "written warning". The US Embassy in Moscow also issued a public alert calling on Americans to avoid large public venues and gatherings.

"It is abundantly clear that ISIS (Islamic State) was solely responsible for the horrific attack in Moscow last week. In fact, the United States tried to help prevent this terrorist attack and the Kremlin knows this," Kirby said.

A NY Times report says, however, that the US side did not share its full intelligence with Moscow. "The adversarial relationship between Washington and Moscow prevented US officials from sharing any information about the plot beyond what was necessary," the Times wrote Thursday. The Americans purportedly did this "out of fear Russian authorities might learn their intelligence sources or methods."