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1 Apr, 2024 12:32

Russia to probe possible US links to terror attacks

A complaint filed last week by lawmakers has been deemed credible enough for a formal inquiry
Russia to probe possible US links to terror attacks

The Russian Investigative Committee has launched a probe into allegations that Ukraine and its Western backers are involved in terrorist activities on Russian soil. It follows complaints from MPs and public figures last week.

The law enforcement body announced on Monday that it was moving forward with the procedural investigation after reviewing the initial accusations. The initial claim, which the Committee confirmed receiving last Wednesday, identified the US and its allies as allegedly driving a string of attacks on Russian soil. The agency is looking into the purported “organization, financing and conduct of terrorist acts” by those nations.

Nikolay Kharitonov of the Communist Party, one of the MPs who filed the original notice, insisted that Western nations have “benefited” from the terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall outside Moscow earlier this month. Russia's geopolitical opponents stood to gain from the tragedy, and counted “on their inaccessibility and impunity.”

A total of 12 people - including the four gunmen, believed to be radical Islamists - have so far been arrested in connection to one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the country’s history.

Over 140 people were killed in the shooting spree and arson attack just outside of Moscow. The Afghanistan-based offshoot of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) has claimed credit for the strike. However, Russian officials claim to have uncovered evidence of possible Ukrainian involvement, contrary to US assurances that Kiev could not have been behind the attack.

“The US and its allies are today conducting terrorist acts on Russian territories with the hands of ISIS and Ukrainian special services,” Kharitonov claimed on Telegram last week. “We demand that the political leadership of the US and Ukraine, as well as the intelligence services of these countries, be held criminally liable for organizing, financing, and conducting terrorist operations directed against Russia and the entire modern world.”

The complaint was signed by three Russian lawmakers as well as some public figures, including the philosopher Aleksandr Dugin. His daughter Darya was killed by a car bomb in August 2022 in what is widely believed to have been a targeted assassination attempt aimed at her father, a prominent nationalist.

Russian investigators accused Kiev of organizing the bomb attack. Reports in the Western media said officials in the US likewise believe that Ukrainian covert operatives were behind the murder.

The Ukrainian government has publicly claimed credit for some of the attacks against Russian targets, such as the bombings of the Crimean Bridge. Last week, Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Vasily Malyuk all but bragged about a string of assassinations of people he described as enemies of his country.

When asked about several such killings during an interview, the official said the question was “directed to the right address, but we will not acknowledge that in any way.” Malyuk proceeded to give some details about the crimes.

Malyuk is among the senior Ukrainian officials wanted for terrorism by Moscow. The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday it had sent a demand to Ukraine to hand such suspects over, under the UN-backed international treaties on fighting terrorism, to which Kiev is a signatory.