Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Zelensky accuses Putin of trying to blame Kiev for deadly attack on Moscow concert

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has stated "miserable" Russian President Vladimir Putin waited overnight before publicly addressing Russians, only to accuse Ukraine of having a hand in the terror attack at a concert hall near Moscow.

On Saturday, Putin told the Russian people that the perpetrators of the Crocus City Hall attack had “tried to hide and moved towards Ukraine, where, according to preliminary data, a window was prepared for them on the Ukrainian side to cross the border.”

Zelensky and several Ukrainian officials have vehemently denied Ukraine has any kind of involvement in the attack.

In his nightly address, Zelensky also said that Russians “have come to Ukraine, burn our cities – and try to blame Ukraine”.

Zelensky added that if the Russian people do “not ask any questions to their security and intelligence agencies, then Putin will try to turn such a situation to his personal advantage again”.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has strongly condemned remarks on the attack made by Zelensky, who suggested Moscow itself was behind the incident.

“The only head of state stupid enough to blame Russia itself for the terrorist attack was Zelensky,” Zakharova wrote on Telegram, adding that the “self-exposure” of the Ukrainian leader is bound to “destroy” him.

The terror group Daesh claimed responsibility for Russia’s attack, according to a short statement published by Daesh-affiliated news agency Amaq on Telegram Friday. The terror group has not provided evidence to support the claim.

Earlier this week, Putin had dismissed warnings by the US embassy that there could be terrorist attacks on large groups, telling the Federal Security Service (FSB) that the embassy warnings were “provocative” and “outright blackmail”.

Defense Intelligence of Ukraine spokesperson Andrii Yusov has also denied his country had anything to do with the terror attack in Moscow.

“There are official statements from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Presidential Office, and the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine. Of course, Ukraine had nothing to do with it,” Yusov stated on Ukrainian national TV Saturday.

Crocus City Hall, in the town of Krasnogorsk in Moscow’s western outskirts, was attacked by gunmen on Friday evening. Just before a concert by Russian rock band Picnic, when the venue, which has an estimated capacity of 7,500, was nearly full. The attackers, armed with assault rifles, breached the venue entrances, shooting patrons at point-blank range then setting the building on fire, before fleeing the scene.

The death toll in the attack on the Crocus City Hall in Moscow Region has grown to 133, Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Saturday. Over 150 people were wounded in the raid.

Emergency services continue to dig through the rubble of the building, which was partially destroyed in a massive fire sparked by the attackers.

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