Russian President Blames Ukraine for Moscow Concert Attack, Criticism of Torture Amidst Condemnation

Putin Blames Ukraine and “Radical Islamists”

On Monday, Russian President Wladimir Putin announced that the attack on a concert hall near Moscow was carried out by “radical Islamists.” However, he also suggested that the shooting could be part of a broader intimidation campaign in Ukraine. Putin asserted that this act of terror may be one of many attempts by individuals who have been at odds with Russia due to the conflict with Ukraine since 2014.

A few days after the terrorist attack near Moscow, which resulted in at least 137 casualties, the focus shifted to four suspects now in custody. The Russian judiciary ordered pre-trial detention for three more individuals involved in the attack, bringing the total number of terror suspects in custody to seven. On Monday, the Basmanny District Court of Moscow decided to detain additional suspects out of the eleven arrested after the attack. Four main perpetrators appeared before a judge on Sunday evening. Despite Islamic State claiming responsibility for the attack multiple times, Putin and other Russian officials have accused Ukraine of involvement without presenting evidence. The White House dismissed these claims as Kremlin propaganda, emphasizing that the attack was carried out by fighters from the Islamic State terrorist militia.

The alleged torture of the suspects by Russian security forces drew condemnation from human rights activists. Russia’s human rights association “Komanda protiw pytok” (Team Against Torture) criticized violence and harassment against suspects, stating that torture could lead investigations astray. They also noted that such actions increase societal willingness to use violence. The public display of cruelty by power apparatus following the attack was seen as an attempt to divert attention from failure of Russian secret services prior to incident

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