Russia Says 133 Killed in Fiery Attack on Concert Hall Near Moscow


  • March 22, 2024
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While the attack comes over two years into Russia’s war on Ukraine, an adviser for the Ukrainian president said the neighboring nation “certainly has nothing to do with the shooting/explosions in the Crocus City Hall.”

 

By COMMON DREAMS STAFF

Mar 22, 2024

 

UPDATE:

Russia’s Investigative Committee announced Saturday that the death toll has increased to 133 and said in a statement that “unfortunately, the number of victims could increase.”

 

Eleven people were detained, including four who were directly involved in the attack, according to a statement from the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB.

 

EARLIER:

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack in which at least dozens of people were killed and wounded when individuals reportedly armed with automatic weapons opened fire at Crocus City Hall, a concert venue in suburban Moscow, Russia.

 

“According to preliminary data, as a result of the terrorist attack at the Crocus City Hall building 40 people were killed and over 100 were injured,” Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement reported by TASS.

 

Citing eyewitnesses, the Russian news agency reported that the group of unidentified men “armed with assault rifles went on a shooting spree in the lobby and then inside the concert hall just before a concert by the rock band Picnic.”

 

As The Moscow Times detailed:

According to a journalist who was at Crocus City Hall during the attack, a grenade or an incendiary bomb was thrown after the shooting broke out and caused a fire.

“People in the hall were lying down on the floor to escape from the shooting, lying between 15 and 20 minutes, after which they began to crawl out. Many managed to get out,” the unnamed journalist was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

 

The attack comes on the heels of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s contested reelection and over two years into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has received weapons support from around the world, including the United States.

 

In a lengthy social media post, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said that “Ukraine certainly has nothing to do with the shooting/explosions in the Crocus City Hall.”

 

“There is not the slightest doubt that the events in the Moscow suburbs will contribute to a sharp increase in military propaganda, accelerated militarization, expanded mobilization, and, ultimately, the scaling up of the war,” Podolyak added. “And also to justify manifest genocidal strikes against the civilian population of Ukraine.”

 

According to The Guardian, John Kirby, the White House national security spokesperson, told reporters that “there’s no indication at this time that Ukraine, or Ukrainians were involved in the shooting… We’re taking a look at it, but I would disabuse you at this early hour of any connection to Ukraine.”

 

Asked whether the attack signals cracks in Putin’s regime, Kirby said that “there are people in Moscow and in Russia that object to the way Mr. Putin is governing the country, but I don’t think we, at this early hour, can make a link between the shopping mall attack and political motivations. I think… we just need more time and we need to learn more information.”

 

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