President Putin Once Dismissed Warnings of Terrorist Attack Risks

Self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) members opened fire and threw petrol bombs at the Picnic band’s event at Crocus City Hall in Krasnogorsk, a city bordering the west of Moscow, on the evening of March 22nd, resulting in at least 60 deaths and 145 injuries.

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This marks the bloodiest act of terrorism in the Russian capital in many years. Over two weeks prior, on March 7th, the U.S. Embassy in Russia issued a warning that they were monitoring information indicating extremists “planned to target large gatherings in Moscow, including concerts.”

Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, confirmed that Washington had intelligence earlier this month about a potential terrorist attack in Moscow, likely targeting densely populated venues, including concert events.

“The U.S. government shared this information with Russian officials in line with our longstanding ‘duty to warn’ policy,” Watson stated.

However, speaking to members of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) on March 19th, just three days before the attack, Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed warnings of the risk of terrorist attacks in the country.

President Putin addressed FSB members in Moscow on March 19th. Photo: AFP.

“I would like to remind you of the provocative statements recently made by some official bodies of the West concerning the possibility of terrorist attacks in Russia,” Mr. Putin said. “They are clearly threatening actions and attempts to disrupt the Russian state.”

The Russian president did not specify any particular nation or message from the West.

On March 7th, the FSB also reported thwarting an IS group’s plot to attack a Jewish synagogue in Moscow. However, it seems the FSB failed to detect any further information on the plot to attack Crocus City Hall, nor were there preventative measures taken following the U.S. warning.

People fled amid gunfire during the attack at Crocus City Hall on the evening of March 22nd. Video: Baza

This incident is one of the most devastating terrorist attacks in Russia in the past 20 years, following the attack on a school in the southern Russian city of Beslan on September 1st, 2004, which left 334 people dead.

On March 23rd, the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, Medvedev, called for the execution of the gunmen responsible for the attack and punishment for their families. “Blood must be repaid with blood,” he stressed.

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