Latest Developments Following the Crocus City Hall Attacks

Russian authorities continue their investigation into the Crocus City Hall attack in Moscow on March 22, which resulted in 145 fatalities. Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, has announced an expanding list of accomplices, including those who provided resources and training to the attackers.

New Arrests:

Eleven individuals have been detained, including four nationals from Tajikistan directly implicated in the attack. Additionally, four foreign nationals were arrested on April 1 in Dagestan for their role in financing and supplying the attackers.

These detentions were followed by three additional arrests by the FSB on April 4, involving one Russian citizen and two foreign nationals from Central Asia.

Two of them are accused of transferring money for the purchase of firearms and vehicles used in the terrorist act, while the third is accused of financing the attackers.

Russia continues to accuse Ukraine:

Although the Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility, Russia is investigating potential links to Ukraine and Western powers, including French President Emmanuel Macron, the USA, and the UK as potential facilitators.

The suspects detained have identified a man named “Saifullo” as their coordinator, even confirming he instructed them to flee to Kyiv, Ukraine, promising a million rubles. This revelation comes amid videos circulating, allegedly showing the arrested being tortured.

President Vladimir Putin has indirectly justified the investigation’s focus on Western involvement, stating:

“on the international stage, [Russia] conducts itself in such a manner that it would hardly be targeted by Islamic fundamentalists”

He also declared that the only apparent goal of the attack was to undermine Russia’s unity, as “Russia cannot be a target of terrorist attacks by Islamic fundamentalists”.

However, Russia was indeed targeted by ISIS over recent years, with a stabbing rampage in Surgut in 2017 (injuring at least seven), and a 2018 church shooting in Kizlyar (five deaths and five injuries).

Ongoing fire investigation at the Crocus City Hall:

During their assault, attackers set fire to the Crocus City Hall building (GRAPHIC).

Initial reports on the fire investigation indicate a malfunction in the venue’s automated fire extinguishing system, specifically the components for water and powder delivery, which did not activate upon the fire’s initiation.

Despite this failure, the system did manage to automatically alert the duty dispatcher of the Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) and triggered an internal building alarm, indicating some level of operational response during the incident.

Turkey revokes visa-free entry for Tajik citizens:

As mentioned above, eleven individuals have been apprehended in relation with the Crocus City Hall attack, including four Tajiks directly involved in the assault.

The investigation following the attack uncovered that these detainees had traveled to Istanbul shortly before the attack, returning to Russia in early March.

In a subsequent move, Turkey has rescinded visa-free travel privileges for citizens of Tajikistan, a decision formalized by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s signature.

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