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11 Jun, 2024 09:37

Ukrainian spies involved in Moscow terror attack – FSB chief

Kiev and the West have recruited agents to carry out attacks inside Russia, Aleksandr Bortnikov has claimed
Ukrainian spies involved in Moscow terror attack – FSB chief

Ukrainian intelligence services were involved in the deadly terrorist attack at the Crocus City Hall concert venue outside Moscow in March, the director of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has said.

Aleksandr Bortnikov made the statement during a virtual meeting of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC) on Tuesday.

"The Ukrainian and Western intelligence services are expanding the circle of possible perpetrators, recruited to commit high-profile crimes inside Russia,” Bortikov said. Kiev and its foreign backers are also assisting “international terrorist organizations,” which train and provide equipment to those people, he added.

"A vivid example [of such activities] is the involvement of Ukrainian military intelligence in the terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall near Moscow that was established by us,” the FSB chief stressed.

The main targets of recruitment by Ukrainian and Western agencies are younger people including migrant workers, he said.

The attack on the concert venue on March 22 claimed 145 lives and left over 550 injured. Four gunmen stormed the building ahead of a rock concert, shooting everyone in sight before setting it on fire.

The suspected perpetrators – all citizens of Tajikistan – were detained shortly after the attack while fleeing in a car towards the Ukrainian border. Almost a dozen of their accomplices have been arrested since then.

A terrorist organization known as Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K) claimed responsibility for the attack. However, Moscow has suggested that Kiev had used the Islamist group as a proxy. Ukraine has denied any involvement, while the West has insisted that all evidence points to ISIS-K as the sole culprit.

Since the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, a total of 134 terrorist and sabotage acts have been prevented in central Russia, according to Bortnikov.

Russian security agencies have also intercepted the activities of 32 international terrorist cells, which were composed of migrants from Central Asia, and prevented attacks on key infrastructure and areas of mass gatherings, the FSB chief said.