Ukraine, US, UK behind Moscow attack: Russia – Times of India

MOSCOW: The director of Russia‘s most powerful security agency said on Tuesday that he believed Ukraine, along with the US and Britain, were involved in the attack on a concert hall just outside Moscow that killed at least 139 people.
Ukraine, which has denied any link with Friday’s attack, dismissed the Russian accusations as lies. Islamic State, the militant group that once sought control over swathes of Iraq and Syria, claimed responsibility for the mass shooting.
“We believe that the action was prepared by both the Islamist radicals themselves and was facilitated by Western special services,” Alexander Bortnikov, director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), said. “The special services of Ukraine are directly related to this,” Bortnikov said, adding Kyiv had helped prepare Islamist radicals at an unidentified location in West Asia.
When asked by Russian reporters if Ukraine and its allies, the United States and Britain, were involved in the attack on the concert hall, Bortnikov said: “We think that’s the case. In any case, we are now talking about the texture that we have. This is general information.”
Bortnikov, 72, who has served as head of the FSB since 2008, said Russia had yet to identify those who specifically ordered the deadliest attack inside Russia for two decades, but said that retaliatory steps would be taken. He offered no specific evidence for the claims, which hardliners in Moscow could use to justify an escalation of the war in Ukraine.
Since President Vladimir Putin sent forces into Ukraine in 2022, the Kremlin has cast the West – and particularly the US and the UK – as enemies. Russia has repeatedly said that blasts on the Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea in Sept 2022 were carried out by the US and the UK. Washington and London have denied those accusations.
On Monday, three days after the massacre, Putin said for the first time that radical Islamists had carried out the attack but that the attackers were trying to flee to Ukraine, and he questioned why Islamists would want to attack Russia at this particular time without being nudged to by others. “We know that the crime was carried out by the hand of radical Islamists…,” he said. “We want to know who ordered it.”
Analysts have said that the Kremlin may be seeking to deflect attention from what appears to be a startling intelligence failures.

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