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Zelenskyy responds to Moscow concert hall shooting, rips Putin for suggesting Ukraine behind terror attack

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy deemed Russian President Vladimir Putin and his lieutenants "scum" for trying to link Kyiv to the suburban Moscow terror attack.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy angrily rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin's suggestion that Kyiv was linked to the attack on a suburban Moscow concert hall that killed more than 130 people. 

In a video statement and written post on X, Zelenksyy responded to Putin's Saturday night address to the nation in which the Russian leader said his authorities arrested four suspects caught attempting to flee to Ukraine in the aftermath of Friday's assault on the Crocus City Hall music venue in Krasnogorsk. 

Zelenskyy argued Putin and his lieutenants were "scum" for attempting to shift the blame to Ukraine, while the "miserable" Russian leader was treating his own people as "expendables," the BBC reported. 

"What happened in Moscow yesterday is obvious, and Putin and other scums are trying to shift the blame to someone else. Their methods are always the same. We have seen it all before," Zelenskyy wrote. "They came to Ukraine, burned down our cities, and then tried to blame Ukraine. They torture and rape people – and then blame them. They have brought hundreds of thousands of their terrorists to Ukrainian territory, and they are waging war against us, but they don’t care about what happens inside their own country." 


"All of this happened yesterday, and instead of taking care of his Russian citizens and addressing them, this duffer Putin remained silent for a day, thinking about how to link this to Ukraine," Zelenskyy continued, "Everything is entirely predictable. Those hundreds of thousands of Russians who are now killing on Ukrainian soil would certainly be enough to deter any terrorists. And if Russians are willing to die quietly in ‘crocuses’ and not question their special services, Putin will try to exploit more of these situations for personal power. Terrorists must always lose." 

Kyiv strongly denied any involvement, and the Islamic State group's Afghanistan affiliate claimed responsibility. The U.S. government said its intelligence also supports that ISIS was behind the attack. 

The U.S. shared information with Russia in early March about a planned terrorist attack in Moscow and issued a public warning to Americans in Russia, National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said, adding, "ISIS bears sole responsibility for this attack. There was no Ukrainian involvement whatsoever." 


Images shared by Russian state media showed emergency vehicles still gathered outside the ruins of the concert hall, which could hold more than 6,000 people and hosted many big events, including the 2013 Miss Universe beauty pageant that featured Donald Trump.

On Friday, crowds were at the venue for a concert by the Russian rock band Picnic.

Videos posted online showed gunmen in the venue shooting civilians at point-blank range, according to The Associated Press. Russian news reports cited authorities and witnesses as saying the attackers threw explosive devices that started the fire, which consumed the building and caused its roof to collapse.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that the U.S. condemned the attack and noted that the Islamic State group is a "common terrorist enemy that must be defeated everywhere."

ISIS, which lost much of its ground after Russia’s military action in Syria, has long targeted Russia. In a statement posted by the group's Aamaq news agency, ISIS's Afghanistan affiliate said it had attacked a large gathering of "Christians" in Krasnogorsk, according to the AP. 

The group issued a new statement Saturday through Aamaq, saying the attack was carried out by four men who used automatic rifles, a pistol, knives and firebombs. It said the assailants fired at the crowd and used knives to kill some concertgoers, casting the raid as part of ISIS's ongoing war with countries that it says are fighting Islam.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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