Russian President Putin Announces That All Four Suspects Have Been Apprehended Following The Deaths Of 133 Individuals At The Moscow Concert Hall

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Russian President Putin Announces That All Four Suspects Have Been Apprehended Following The Deaths Of 133 Individuals At The Moscow Concert Hall

According to state media reports on Saturday, Russian authorities have detained 11 individuals, including four suspected gunmen, in connection with the deadly attack at a packed concert hall near Moscow on Friday, which has resulted in at least 133 fatalities and left hundreds more injured, as confirmed by Russian officials.

The four suspects were apprehended in the Bryansk region of western Russia, situated “not far from the border with Ukraine,” as stated by Russia’s Investigative Committee.

They were reportedly intending to cross the border into Ukraine and had established contacts there, as per information from the state news agency Tass, citing Russia’s FSB. The head of the FSB briefed President Vladimir Putin on these arrests on Saturday, according to Tass.

Videos circulating on Russian social media depict chaos unfolding inside the expansive concert hall, which is linked to a shopping mall. These videos capture scenes of panic as people scream and seek shelter while gunmen unleash successive rounds of automatic gunfire. Additional footage shows the assailants firing, sometimes at close range. The attackers also ignited the venue, resulting in a partial collapse of the building’s roof.

“The shots were constant,” eyewitness Dave Primov told CBS News. “People panicked and started to run. Some fell down and were trampled on.” 

The Islamic State group has asserted responsibility for the assault. A U.S. official informed CBS News that intelligence confirms the Islamic State’s claims, with no doubts cast upon them. The U.S. Embassy in Russia previously cautioned Americans to avoid concert venues due to the risk of a terrorist attack. The official affirmed that the U.S. provided intelligence to Russia regarding a potential attack, adhering to the Duty to Warn requirement within the intelligence community. The incident occurred shortly after Putin solidified his hold on power through a meticulously managed electoral victory amid ongoing hostilities with Ukraine. In a national address, Putin condemned the assault as a “bloody, barbaric terrorist act” and reiterated that all four direct perpetrators had been apprehended. He implied that they were attempting to flee across the Ukrainian border, alleging Ukraine’s complicity in facilitating their escape. Ukraine’s foreign ministry refuted any involvement and accused Moscow of exploiting the attack to galvanize support for its military endeavors.

“We consider such accusations to be a planned provocation by the Kremlin to further fuel anti-Ukrainian hysteria in Russian society, create conditions for increased mobilization of Russian citizens to participate in the criminal aggression against our country and discredit Ukraine in the eyes of the international community,” a ministry said in a statement.

In a statement provided to CBS News Saturday, National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson also rejected the idea of any involvement by Ukraine in the attack.  

“In early March, the U.S. government shared information with Russia about a planned terrorist attack in Moscow,” Watson said. “We also issued a public advisory to Americans in Russia on March 7. ISIS bears sole responsibility for this attack. There was no Ukrainian involvement whatsoever.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy angrily rejected Moscow’s accusations as an attempt by Putin and his lieutenants to shift the blame to Ukraine while treating their own people as “expendables.”

“They are burning our cities — and they are trying to blame Ukraine,” he said in a statement on his messaging app channel. “They torture and rape our people — and they blame them. They drove hundreds of thousands of their terrorists here to fight us on our Ukrainian soil, and they don’t care what happens inside their own country.”

Russian state media shared images depicting emergency vehicles still stationed outside the remnants of the concert hall, a venue capable of accommodating over 6,000 individuals and renowned for hosting numerous significant events, such as the 2013 Miss Universe beauty pageant with Donald Trump’s involvement. Additionally, Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement reaffirming the United States’ staunch condemnation of the tragic attack.

“We send our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed and all affected by this heinous crime,” Blinken said. “We condemn terrorism in all its forms and stand in solidarity with the people of Russia in grieving the loss of life from this horrific event.”

According to a U.S. law enforcement official speaking to CBS News, there is currently no identified threat to the United States originating from the Moscow attack.

Meanwhile, in Moscow, Russia’s health ministry reported that hundreds of individuals queued up on Saturday morning to donate blood and plasma. This incident marks the deadliest terrorist attack in Russia in recent years.

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