April 13, 2024, Saturday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Russia mourns the death of over 130 people in the deadliest concert attack

The Nepal Weekly
March 26, 2024

Russia observed a national day of mourning on Sunday following a massacre in a Moscow concert hall that killed more than 130 people, the deadliest attack in Europe in the recent time. The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to punish those behind the “barbaric terrorist attack”, saying four gunmen trying to flee to Ukraine had been arrested. Kyiv has strongly denied any connection, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accusing Putin of trying to shift the blame onto them. 

Putin, in his first public remarks on the attack, made no reference to a statement by IS claiming responsibility.

In total 133 people were killed when camouflaged gunmen stormed the Crocus City Hall, in Moscow’s northern suburb of Krasnogorsk, and then set fire to the building on Friday evening.

The Islamic State group sent a Telegram Saturday saying that the attack was “carried out by four IS fighters armed with machine guns, a pistol, knives and firebombs,” as part of “the raging war” with “countries fighting Islam”.

It is the deadliest attack in Russia for almost two decades.

Russian officials expect the death toll to rise further, with more than 100 wounded in hospital.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said rescue workers were still pulling bodies from the burnt-out building on Saturday.

The emergency situations ministry has so far named 29 of the victims, the blaze having complicated the process of identification. The ministry posted a video Sunday of heavy equipment arriving at the scene of the fire to dismantle damaged structures and clear debris.

“Terrorists, murderers, non-humans … have only one unenviable fate: retribution and oblivion,” Putin said in his televised address Saturday.

Calling the attack a “barbaric, terrorist act”, he said “all four direct perpetrators … all those who shot and killed people, have been found and detained”.

Russian television showed security services interrogating four bloodied men, who spoke Russian with an accent, on a road in the western Bryansk region, bordering both Ukraine and Belarus. 

“They tried to escape and were travelling towards Ukraine, where, according to preliminary data, a window was prepared for them on the Ukrainian side to cross the state border,” said Putin. 

Zelensky, in his address Saturday, dismissed the suggestion that Kyiv had been involved. 

“What happened yesterday in Moscow is obvious,” he said. “Putin and the other scum are just trying to blame it on someone else.” 

Russia has arrested 11 people in connection with the attack, the FSB security service said. Earlier, the agency had said the attackers had “contacts” in Ukraine, without elaborating. 

Declaring Sunday a day of national mourning Putin : “All the perpetrators, organisers and those who ordered this crime will be justly and inevitably punished.”