NewsKremlin pushes "Ukrainian trace" narrative following Moscow attack

Kremlin pushes "Ukrainian trace" narrative following Moscow attack

Russian services at the hall where the attack took place
Russian services at the hall where the attack took place

4:50 PM EDT, March 23, 2024

Pro-Kremlin media have been directed by the Russian president's administration to spotlight the "Ukrainian trace" in discussions about the terrorist attack at a concert hall near Moscow, which resulted in over 100 fatalities.

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An attack took place on Friday evening at the Crocus City Hall in Krasnogorsk, a suburb of Moscow, leaving over 100 people dead and many injured. The Islamic State of Khorasan Province has claimed responsibility for the attack.

In the Bryansk region, security forces reportedly apprehended four terrorists linked to the attack. The FSB announced that these individuals were attempting to escape to Ukraine and purportedly had "contacts on the Ukrainian side".

Independent Russian news outlet Meduza reports that pro-Kremlin media were instructed by the Russian president's administration to highlight the possibility of a "Ukrainian trace" in coverage about the attack.

Russian media question the ISIS claim

The notion of a "Ukrainian trace" became a talking point among Russian commentators almost instantly. "Kommersant" suggested the attack could have been executed by the Russian Volunteer Corps, which includes Russians fighting for Ukraine. The report noted that the assailants are young men who wore fake mustaches and beards to mimic individuals from Central Asia.

Despite the Islamic State's claim of responsibility for the bombing, some Russians quickly sought to debunk it. Certain bloggers contended that the claim was a fabrication, using a template ISIS purportedly hasn't utilized in years. Conversely, experts highlighted that this identical template had been recently employed by the terrorist organization's official channels.

Pro-Kremlin political analyst Sergey Markov contended that Muslims couldn't be responsible for the attack, citing the ongoing Ramadan and the fact that the attack occurred on Friday, a sacred day for Muslims.

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