Moscow concert hall attack suspects say they planned to flee to Ukraine

Video excerpts of the suspected Moscow concert hall attackers being interrogated that were released by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) on Sunday evening appear to support Russia’s previous claims that Ukraine was somehow involved in the attack.

The various video clips, which were also shown on Russian state TV, show the four suspected gunmen being interrogated separately and saying that they planned to flee to Ukraine after carrying out the attack.

One of the suspects shown on video, Saidakrami Rachabalizoda, said that they had received instructions from a man named Sayfullo, who told them to head for Kyiv, where they would be paid 1 million rubles (€10,000).

Rachabalizoda is believed to be the suspect who had part of his ear cut off and was forced to eat it in a video released shortly after he was apprehended by law enforcement officers after the attack.

Another suspect, Muhammadsobir Fayzov, who was previously taken into court on a stretcher, confirmed that the attackers had been promised 1 million rubles, adding that they were supposed to meet with people on the Ukrainian border who would “help them get to Kyiv”.

Russian state TV claimed that landmines had been cleared by the Ukrainians and two “corridors” created to allow the fugitives to cross safely into the country’s Sumy region. There was no independent confirmation of these claims, however.

Russian investigators announced on Friday that they had been able access the alleged gunmen’s phones, and that their contents “may indicate a connection” between the terror attack and the war in Ukraine.

The reports align with Russia’s campaign to blame Ukraine and the West for masterminding the Crocus City Hall attack, with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week arguing that Russia could “hardly be an object of attack by Islamic fundamentalists” as the country was “a unique example of interfaith and interethnic unity”.

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