Putin sees “radical Islamists” as perpetrators

Russian President Vladimir Putin now assumes that radical Islamists carried out the terrorist attack near Moscow.

However, he does not completely deviate from his original suspicion of a “Ukrainian trace”.

According to Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, the terrorist attack near Moscow was carried out by Islamists. “We know that the crime was committed by radical Islamists, whose ideology the Islamic world itself has been fighting for centuries,” Putin said in a conversation with government officials.

“We now know whose hands committed this crime against Russia and its people. Now we want to know who the principal is,” he said at the meeting, which was broadcast on television.

Putin did not mention the offshoot of the terrorist group “Islamic State” (IS), which claimed responsibility for the crime. He also did not name IS itself. The president also did not mention any other suspected sponsor of the attack.

Putin mentions Ukraine again

With his latest statements, Putin deviated somewhat from his original line, in which he had suspected a “Ukrainian trace” behind the bloody crime. However, he said it should be clarified why the terrorists wanted to escape to Ukraine after the bloody act. “And who was expecting them there.”

Now several questions need to be clarified. “How do radical Islamists, posing as devout Muslims and professing so-called pure Islam, come to commit grave atrocities and crimes during the holy month of Ramadan, which is holy to all Muslims?” Putin was quoted as saying.

It also remains to be seen “whether radical and terrorist Islamic organizations are really interested in attacking Russia, which today stands for a just solution to the escalating Middle East conflict,” said the Kremlin chief when dealing with the attack.

Ukraine rejects allegations

Masked attackers broke into the “Crocus City Hall” in the northwest Moscow suburb of Krasnogorsk on Friday evening and, according to Russian information, killed at least 139 people there. The total number of injured was put at 182.

Shortly after the attack, IS claimed responsibility for the crime and later confirmed this several times. Western security authorities and experts believe the confession is credible and suspect the IS offshoot “Islamic State Khorasan Province” (ISPK) was behind the attack.

The Kremlin has so far refused to comment on IS’s commitment. Russian propaganda initially tried to establish an alleged connection with Ukraine, against which Putin has been waging a brutal war of aggression for more than two years. However, there is no evidence for this claim. The Ukrainian leadership has also strictly rejected the allegations.

Other suspects in custody

In connection with the terrorist attack on Friday, the Russian judiciary imposed pre-trial detention on Monday on three other people involved. The Basmanny District Court of the Russian capital made this decision in the afternoon, state agency Tass reported. One of the three men is therefore a Russian citizen.

This means that seven terror suspects are now in custody, including the four suspected shooters. A total of eleven suspects were arrested after the attack last Friday – allegedly near the border with Ukraine. The four alleged main perpetrators appeared before the judge on Sunday evening. According to Russian state media reports, all of them are Tajik citizens. Two of them pleaded guilty, the court said.

Signs of torture

When the four alleged main perpetrators were brought to Moscow’s Basmanny Court by police and secret service agents on Sunday, their serious injuries were immediately noticeable. The men who were said to have fired shots in the concert hall last Friday had severely swollen faces, lacerations and bruises.

One had a large bandage on his ear. Another was no longer able to walk on his own and reportedly temporarily lost consciousness. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov initially declined to comment on the men’s serious injuries, which indicate torture by Russian security forces.


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