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Russian officials are accusing Ukraine and the West of being involved in the deadly Moscow concert hall attack, despite evidence pointing to the terrorist group Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K) as responsible. The Federal Security Service (FSB) chief, Gen. Alexander Bortnikov, stated that the attack was prepared by radical Islamists and facilitated by Western special services. He also claimed that Ukraine’s special services were directly connected to the attack. Secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, echoed these allegations, suggesting that Ukraine was behind the atrocity.

Following the attack, four Tajikistan citizens were arrested, with another four accused of aiding terrorism and a total of 11 men detained. The four attackers killed 139 people and left another 22 in serious condition. Despite ISIS-K claiming responsibility for the attack, Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to link Ukraine to it. Russian media reported that the suspects were tortured during the investigation and showed signs of severe beatings during their court appearance. Putin did not mention ISIS-K in his speech but promised to find out who ordered the attack.

National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson stated that ISIS bore sole responsibility for the attack, denying any involvement by Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy strongly rejected Putin’s claims and criticized him and other officials for attempting to shift blame to Ukraine as an excuse to continue the invasion of Ukraine. Zelenskyy called them out for their methods of blaming others for their actions and highlighted the suffering that Russians have caused in Ukraine.

Zelenskyy emphasized that Putin and others are trying to exploit the situation in Moscow to gain personal power and distract from the atrocities committed by Russians in Ukraine. He condemned Putin for remaining silent for a day and then trying to link the attack to Ukraine, stating that terrorists must always lose. Zelenskyy also pointed out the hypocrisy of blaming Ukraine for terrorist attacks while Russian forces continue to perpetrate violence and destruction in Ukraine.

The Russian officials’ allegations against Ukraine and the West in the Moscow attack have led to increased tensions between the countries. The accusations have been vehemently denied by Ukrainian officials, who have stood firm in their stance that ISIS-K was responsible for the attack. The situation has highlighted the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the complex web of geopolitical tensions in the region. It remains to be seen how the fallout from the attack will affect relations between the countries moving forward.

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