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Moscow Concert Attack: Russia Mourns the Loss of 133 Lives

A woman mourns at a makeshift memorial in front of the Crocus City Hall, a day after a gun attack in Krasnogorsk, outside Moscow, on March 23, 2024. Camouflaged assailants opened fire at the packed Crocus City Hall in Moscow's northern suburb of Krasnogorsk on March 22, 2024, evening ahead of a concert by Soviet-era rock band Piknik in the deadliest attack in Russia for at least a decade. Russia on March 23, 2024, said it had arrested 11 people - including four gunmen - over the attack on a Moscow concert hall claimed by Islamic State, as the death toll rose to over 100 people. (Photo by Olga MALTSEVA / AFP) (Photo by OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia is in mourning following a devastating attack that claimed the lives of at least 133 individuals at a crowded concert venue in Moscow on Friday evening. Flags are being flown at half-mast, numerous events have been cancelled, and television schedules have been adjusted in observance of the national day of mourning.

The assault, which occurred at the Crocus City Hall, resulted in more than 140 people sustaining injuries after gunmen entered the venue and opened fire indiscriminately before setting it ablaze. The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

On Saturday, Amaq, the media outlet affiliated with the Islamic State (IS), released an image purportedly depicting the four masked individuals allegedly involved in the assault. While Russia has yet to officially address the IS claim, the group subsequently disseminated highly disturbing footage from the attack.

Russian President, Vladimir Putin announced on Saturday that all four assailants responsible for the attack have been apprehended. In a televised address, Putin denounced the massacre — the deadliest in Russia in nearly two decades — as a “barbaric terrorist act.” He echoed earlier assertions from Russian security services, suggesting that the perpetrators had attempted to flee to Ukraine.

In response, Kyiv dismissed any suggestion of involvement in the attack as “absurd.”

Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military intelligence directorate, rebuffed the notion that the suspects were heading to Ukraine, stating to the BBC, “To suggest the suspects were heading to Ukraine would suggest they were stupid or suicidal.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused President Putin of attempting to shift blame onto Ukraine for the attack. Zelensky criticized Putin, stating, “This worthless Putin, instead of dealing with his citizens of Russia, addressing them, remained silent for a day – thinking how to bring this to Ukraine,” during his nightly address.

Two of the alleged attackers seen in the IS video and a still image released by IS with videos of the arrested suspects posted on pro-Kremlin Telegram channels have been verified.

The US National Security Council disclosed that it had alerted Russia to a potential IS attack on “large gatherings,” including concerts in Moscow, earlier in the month. The Kremlin dismissed these warnings as “propaganda” and an attempt by Washington to interfere in the recent Russian election.

In response to the attack, the White House condemned the “heinous” act and emphasized the need to combat IS as “a common terrorist enemy that must be defeated everywhere.”


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