No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Following the devastating terrorist assault on the Crocus City Hall concert venue on the outskirts of Moscow last month, which resulted in the most horrific terrorist incident Russia has witnessed in over twenty years, Russian authorities have pointed fingers at Ukraine and implicated Western involvement. This assertion comes despite American officials’ insistence that they had forewarned Russia of a potential Islamic State attack on the venue.

The specificity of the American warning prompts questions regarding the Russian government’s inability (or, perhaps, unwillingness) to avert the tragedy. Nevertheless, Russian officials have largely overlooked the Islamic State’s admission of the attack, choosing instead to assert involvement by U.S. and British intelligence in coordination with Ukraine for orchestrating the shootings.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, refrained from commenting on claims made in The Washington Post regarding the U.S.’s explicit warning about the potential target. Following this, The New York Times released a similar report. Nikolai Patrushev, the Secretary of the Russian Security Council, attributed the attack directly to Ukrainian security forces, suggesting Western complicity. They continue to use language suggesting that the US-led alliance is propagating a “war” against them.

Patrushev, in a gathering in Astana, Kazakhstan, with secretaries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s security councils, criticized the portrayal of the attack as an act initiated by the Kyiv regime rather than radical Islamic followers, potentially from the Islamic State’s Afghan faction, ISIS-K. He emphasized the importance of exposing the “masterminds and sponsors” behind the attack, directly accusing the Ukrainian security services and pointing out numerous hoax bomb threats from Ukrainian territories following the incident.

Patrushev remarked on the West’s quick defense of Ukraine’s non-involvement post-attack as part of Russia’s broader narrative of a confrontational stance against NATO, suggesting the alliance’s participation in a war against Russia. This narrative has included hints at Russia’s potential deployment of nuclear weapons and continued assertions of NATO‘s provision of military aid to Ukraine.

Despite these accusations, NATO maintains its stance on supplying Ukraine with the necessary defense equipment.

Since the attack, the Russian government has subtly positioned this act of violence within the broader context of the ongoing “war,” scarcely mentioning ISIS-K, which U.S. intelligence had identified as responsible.