Crocus City Hall Attack: New Investigations and Alleged Financial Links to Ukraine

Russian authorities have detained a new suspect for allegedly financing the attack on the Crocus City Hall in Moscow, where 143 people were killed and more than 360 injured on March 22, marking this event as the deadliest attack in Russia in the last two decades. Among the victims, the Investigative Committee reported that 84 have already been identified, including 5 children aged between 9 to 16.

Russian authorities blame the West:

Following President Vladimir Putin’s allegations, investigations have focused on a possible Ukrainian link to the attack, initially claimed by ISIS. Russian officials assert they have discovered financial transactions and cryptocurrency transfers from Ukraine that were used to prepare the attack.

The head of the Russian intelligence service FSB, Alexander Bortnikov, has assured that the attack has been facilitated by Ukrainian and Western secret services.

Ukraine denies these accusations, stating they are efforts by Moscow to shift blame. The US, for its part, has dismissed these accusations as ‘nonsense and propaganda’.

Suspect details and legal proceedings:

The attackers, Muhammadsobir Fayzov, Shamsiddin Fariduni, Saidakrami Rachabalizoda, Dalerdzhan Mirzoev, have been identified as citizens of Tajikistan and are aged from 19 to 32 years old.

They were apprehended in the Bryansk region while trying to flee towards Ukraine. However, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has claimed that the attackers initially attempted to enter Belarus, stating:

“We placed our units on high alert to prepare for a combat situation. As a result they were unable to enter Belarus by any means. Recognizing this, they diverted their course and headed toward the Ukrainian-Russian border.”

Charges against those arrested include committing a terrorist act that resulted in death, which could lead to a life imprisonment sentence. Mirzoyev, Rachabalizoda, and Fariduni have already admitted guilt after being charged. Fayzov, on his part, was brought to trial in a wheelchair and remained seated throughout the session, appearing weak and requiring medical attention in court.

Today, on March 28, another suspect has been arrested in relation to the financing of the attack, as reported by the Investigative Committee of Russia on their Telegram channel. Officials previously said that 11 suspects had been apprehended in relation to the incident, with 8 facing charges and currently in pre-trial detention. Six of the individuals are citizens of Tajikistan, and two hold Russian citizenship. So far, no evidence has been presented connecting them to Belarus.

The implications for the war in Donbass:

Amid allegations of torture and violence against the Crocus City Hall attackers, which cast doubt on the sincerity of their confessions, Lukashenko’s claim that they initially attempted to flee to Belarus could further undermine the credibility of Russia’s official narrative and its allegations of the perpetrators’ ties with Ukraine.

Limited information has been provided regarding the apprehended suspects, making it challenging to confirm any potential involvement from Ukrainian facilitators. ISIS claim of the attack however renders such a scenario highly unlikely.

Moreover, with official investigations now asserting the existence of a link with Ukraine, it is expected that the conflict in the Donbass region could intensify.

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