Kremlin refuses to be drawn on claim of link between Moscow attackers and Ukraine

By Thomson Reuters Mar 26, 2024 | 5:23 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin on Tuesday refused to be drawn on whether it believed there was a link between the Ukrainian leadership and Friday’s attack in which gunmen killed at least 139 people in a Moscow concert hall, saying only that its investigation was ongoing.

Asked during a call with reporters whether there was a direct link between Ukraine and the attack, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “I have nothing to add to what has already been said on this topic.”

Peskov said that Russian officials’ comments on the attack were based on “preliminary data” and that the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee had reported to President Vladimir Putin on Monday about the probe.

Putin has said the attack was carried out by radical Islamists, but also said that the attackers had attempted to escape to Ukraine after the assault on the Crocus City Hall venue.

U.S. officials have said they have intelligence indicating it was the Afghan branch, Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), that was responsible, but Russian authorities have not publicly accepted the group’s role.

Eight suspects, natives of the Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, have so far been remanded in pre-trial detention on suspicion of involvement in the attacks.

(Writing by Felix Light; Editing by Kevin Liffey)