Despite credible claims of responsibility from Islamist terrorists, the secretary of Russia’s National Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, blamed Ukraine for the attack near Moscow last Friday.

When asked by journalists whether the terrorist militia Islamic State or Ukraine was behind the attack on the Crocus City Hall concert hall, which left at least 139 dead, Patrushev replied: “Of course Ukraine,” according to the state agency Tass. The 72-year-old, who has repeatedly appeared as an ardent supporter of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, did not explain how he came to this assessment.

The terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) has already claimed responsibility for the attack in Moscow several times. Western security authorities and experts also believe this is credible and suspect the IS offshoot Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISPK) is behind it. Nevertheless, Russian officials have been claiming for days, without providing any evidence, that Ukraine could be involved. Kyiv strictly rejects this.

That’s what Putin says

Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, appeared somewhat more reserved. He is counting on the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office to do everything to “ensure that the criminals receive a fair punishment, as required by Russian law.”

On Monday, Putin confirmed that the attack on Crocus City Hall was carried out by Islamist terrorists. At the same time, as he did at the weekend, he made it clear that he sees a Ukrainian trail. Russia wants to know “who the client is.” Putin therefore assumes that Islamists carried out the order for the mass murder, but that the masterminds are located elsewhere. He sees a motive in Ukraine, not IS.