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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suggestion that Kyiv was involved in the attack on a concert hall in Moscow that left over 130 people dead. Zelenskyy called Putin and his associates “scum” for trying to deflect blame onto Ukraine, while accusing Putin of treating his own people as “expendables.” He emphasized that the perpetrators were trying to link the attack to Ukraine to further their own agenda, but that the incident was clearly orchestrated by ISIS, as claimed by the U.S. government and supported by intelligence reports.

Images shared by Russian state media showed emergency vehicles outside the destroyed concert hall in Krasnogorsk, where the attack took place during a concert by the band Picnic. Videos online depicted gunmen shooting civilians and throwing explosive devices, causing a fire that engulfed the building and led to its collapse. The incident was claimed by ISIS’s Afghanistan affiliate, who stated that the attackers used firearms, knives, and firebombs to target a gathering of “Christians,” aligning with the group’s ongoing conflict with nations it deems as opposing Islam.

The U.S. government shared information with Russia in advance of the attack, warning of a planned terrorist incident in Moscow, which ultimately proved to be prophetic. National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson clarified that ISIS was solely responsible for the attack, refuting any involvement by Ukraine. The White House condemned the violence and emphasized the need to combat ISIS as a common terrorist threat. The concert hall, known for hosting large events, was the site of the tragic attack that resulted in numerous casualties.

Zelenskyy continued to rebuke Putin’s attempts to implicate Ukraine in the attack, asserting that all evidence pointed to ISIS as the perpetrator. Despite Russia’s efforts to shift blame, the international community, including the U.S., stood by the assertion that the Islamic State group was behind the assault. Zelenskyy highlighted the irony of Putin’s silence following the attack, accusing him of trying to manipulate the situation for personal gain. He expressed solidarity with the Russian people and criticized Putin for prioritizing power over the safety and well-being of his citizens.

The ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that the assailants targeted a gathering of “Christians” in Krasnogorsk. The group described the tactics used in the assault, including firearms and knives, as part of their ongoing conflict with nations perceived as adversaries of Islam. The statement from ISIS underscored the group’s persistence in engaging in acts of terrorism and violence against countries aligned against their ideology, despite suffering setbacks in Syria due to Russian military intervention.

The incident at the concert hall in Moscow, orchestrated by ISIS operatives, resulted in a significant loss of life and widespread devastation. The U.S. government’s intelligence reports corroborated the ISIS claim of responsibility, dispelling any allegations of Ukrainian involvement in the attack. Zelenskyy’s strong denunciation of Putin’s tactics and support for the victims of the tragedy emphasized the need for unified efforts to combat terrorism and uphold security for all citizens, regardless of national origin. The attack served as a stark reminder of the threat posed by extremist groups like ISIS and the imperative of international cooperation in addressing global security challenges.

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