After one of the worst terrorist attacks in Russian history, speculation about the background to the crime continued. The terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) had already claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday night, but Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted at a Ukrainian lead behind the attack – but without providing any evidence. Accordingly, the perpetrators are said to have fled towards Ukraine.

Kiev denied any involvement in the attack that left 137 dead on Friday evening. The secret services of the USA and other Western countries had already warned of an impending attack at the beginning of March. However, Putin dismissed the warnings as a Western provocation.

National Day of Mourning

Meanwhile, Russia marked a national day of mourning today. Abroad, Serbia and Nicaragua joined the commemoration with their own days of mourning. Many of the 152 people injured in the attack are still in critical condition, the state news agency Tass reported this morning, citing the Emergencies Ministry for the Moscow region. Five children are among the injured.

The members of the popular Russian rock band Piknik, whose performance was prevented by the bloody terrorist attack, laid flowers for the victims in front of the Crocus City Hall that evening. After a minute’s silence, they expressed their condolences to the relatives of the 137 dead, as the state agency Tass reported. “This atrocity is a senseless, unimaginable cruelty,” said bandleader Edmund Schkljarski. “It’s not even an atrocity, because even monsters don’t do something like that.” One of the band’s assistants was among those killed, Piknik said.

In the Crocus City Hall event center near Moscow, which has thousands of seats, perpetrators shot randomly at visitors on Friday. There were also explosions in the building and a major fire.

Suspects are interrogated

The four main suspects in the terrorist attack were brought to the Russian capital for questioning on Saturday evening. As the state agency Tass also reported, the four men were driven in a highly secured motorcade from the Bryansk region in the south of the country, where they were arrested, to the so-called investigative committee. An application for an arrest warrant should be submitted to court in the coming days. Video recordings are said to show that torture was said to have taken place during the arrest of the suspects. For example, a video circulating in Russia shows a man’s ear being cut off. The recordings cannot initially be checked independently.

Identification of victims continues

Meanwhile, forensic experts continued to identify the victims. By Saturday evening, 50 victims had already been identified, said Governor Andrei Vorobyov. Many people in the concert hall were burned beyond recognition, it was said. Almost 4,000 people donated blood by evening to facilitate medical treatment for the injured.

During the night, heavy machinery cleared debris from the grounds of Crocus City Hall. It had been feared that more victims could be found under the rubble of the badly damaged concert hall in Krasnogorsk, northwest of Moscow. However, this was not initially the case. According to authorities, the clean-up and rescue work will last at least until the evening.

Zelenskyj: Moscow always blames others

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj categorically rejected Putin’s attempts to blame Ukraine for the attack with unsubstantiated accusations during the night. “Of course, after what happened in Moscow yesterday, Putin and the other bastards are just trying to shift the blame to someone else,” Zelensky said in his daily video address. After the events in the concert hall, “that absolute nobody Putin” remained silent for a day instead of taking care of his Russian citizens. Rather, Putin was thinking about “how he can bring this to Ukraine.”

In a speech broadcast on state television on Saturday afternoon, Putin spoke of Ukraine’s alleged involvement in the terrorist attack. Referring to the arrested men, he said: “They tried to hide and moved towards Ukraine, where a window had been prepared for them to cross the border.” Ukrainian military intelligence countered Putin and pointed out that the border had long been mined.

Faeser: IS terrorist branch probably responsible

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) currently believes Islamists are responsible for the serious attack. “Based on everything that is known so far, it can be assumed that the terrorist group “Islamic State Khorasan Province” (ISPK) is responsible for the murderous terrorist attack near Moscow,” she told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. This group is currently the biggest Islamist threat in Germany, said Faeser. “The danger from Islamist terrorism remains acute.” Khorasan represents a historical region in Central Asia that included parts of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan and Iran. The ISPK terrorist group originated in Afghanistan.

The IS propaganda channel Amak published a picture on Saturday with four people whose faces had been blurred out. The fighters, armed with assault rifles, pistols and bombs, dealt a “severe blow” to Russia, the statement said. The attack targeted “thousands of Christians in a music hall.” ISIS fights followers of Christianity and regards them as infidels.

Terrorist militia IS releases video

Today, the terrorist militia Islamic State also released a video of the bloody act. The propaganda channel Amak published an almost 90-second video that is said to show the attackers at the site of the attack. Arabic subtitles say Amak shows “exclusive scenes” of “bloody attacks on Christians.”

At the beginning you can see a heavily armed man firing an assault rifle into a hallway where many lifeless bodies are already lying on the floor. The camera then pans to one of the suspected terrorists stabbing a person on the ground with a knife. Four men then cross an abandoned area of ​​Crocus City Hall. The voices of the alleged perpetrators are distorted. According to Arabic subtitles, a person says: “Kill them without mercy” and “We have come forward for the cause of God.”