Despite several confessions by the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) about the attack on a concert hall near Moscow a week ago, Russian authorities continue to insist on alleged Ukrainian involvement.

The Russian Investigative Committee said the suspects said they received instructions from an unknown person via voice messages on Telegram. After the attack, this “coordinator” directed the terrorists towards the Ukrainian border and promised them a reward that they would receive in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, it said.

Independent Russian media pointed out that the arrested men showed up in the courtroom a few days ago, some seriously injured, and had most likely been tortured by Russian security forces. Russian human rights activists have also expressed their horror and pointed out that confessions obtained under torture have little value.

Ukraine denies involvement

Ukraine denies involvement in the attack. On Thursday, the Russian Central Investigative Committee announced that equipment had allegedly been seized from the suspects that was said to prove a connection to Ukrainian nationalists. Accordingly, secured data traffic should show that money flowed to the men.

Arrests in Tajikistan

Meanwhile, there were also arrests in the Central Asian republic of Tajikistan. Nine men who had connections to the terrorists imprisoned in Moscow were arrested in a suburb of the Tajik capital Dushanbe, the state agency Ria Novosti reported. Russian forces were also involved in the arrest. The agency relied on its own contacts with security circles. Meanwhile, the number of deaths rose to 144 and the number of injured to 382, ​​according to Russian authorities.

According to the Kremlin, after the attack on Friday last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Tajik colleague Emomali Rakhmon agreed on closer cooperation in the fight against terrorism during a telephone conversation. Rahmon condemned the attack and said terror has no nationality and no religion. Tajikistan, which borders Afghanistan, is considered a refuge for Islamist terrorists. The terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack. According to Russian state media, the suspected gunmen had Tajik passports with them.

Four men in custody

Four men who are said to have shot and set fires at Crocus City Hall are in custody, according to Russian investigators. There were also further arrests and arrest warrants, the total number of which is now around 20.

In a video clip shown by Russian state media, one of the alleged perpetrators said that he had been promised the equivalent of 5,000 euros for the crime. He had half of it transferred to his credit card in advance, but he didn’t know from whom. The authenticity of the video could not be verified.