Putin Was Warned This Attack Was Coming But Brushed It Off

AP Photo/Vitaly Smolnikov

Beege covered all the updates on the terror attack in Moscow yesterday culminating with the big news that ISIS had claimed credit for the attack. But there are some more updates today starting with the death toll which has now climbed to 133 dead and more than 100 more injured.


Despite the claim of responsibility by ISIS and despite Russia having captured four of the shooters and identified them as foreigners who barely speak Russia, Putin is still seeking to twist this attack to his political advantage.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia laid the groundwork on Saturday for blaming Ukraine for the Moscow concert hall attack. And in making his first remarks on the assault more than 19 hours after it began, he pledged to punish the perpetrators, “whoever they may be, whoever may have sent them.”

Mr. Putin, in a five-minute televised address, claimed that someone in Ukraine had tried to help the attackers escape across the border from Russia before they were apprehended by Russian security services...

“They were trying to hide and were moving toward Ukraine,” Mr. Putin said, referring to the four men who carried out the attack and who the Kremlin said had been captured in western Russia. “Based on preliminary information, a window for crossing the border was prepared for them by the Ukrainian side.”

Putin did not mention ISIS in his speech today. Also not mentioned was the US warning about a possible terror attack which was given two weeks prior to this attack, a warning that specifically mentioned concerts as a possible target. This is from March 8:

The US Embassy in Russia issued an urgent warning of an “imminent” terrorist attack in Moscow — just hours after ISIS was thwarted from a planned massacre at a synagogue.

“The Embassy is monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts, and US citizens should be advised to avoid large gatherings over the next 48 hours,” the embassy said on its website.


It wasn't just the US that issued a warning about possible terrorism in Russia:

The British Embassy in Moscow quickly shared the warning, while advising U.K. nationals to avoid "all travel to Russia." By Friday, at least six other nations had joined in warning their citizen about the alleged threat—including Canada, Germany, Sweden, South Korea, Latvia and the Czech Republic.

These warnings did not go unnoticed in Russia. In fact, Putin's propagandists used them to suggest the US itself was planning the attacks.

"The USA and Britain have even stopped hiding that they are behind the terrorist attacks in Russia," a post on the pro-Kremlin Telegram channel RIA Katyusha reads.

Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of Russian state-run media outlet RT, reportedly suggested that the U.S. and U.K. would be guilty of "complicity" in future terror attacks occurs in Russia if "specific information" is not "passed on" to the Kremlin.

Putin brushed off the warnings as tantamount to blackmail.

On Tuesday at a meeting with senior Federal Security Service officers, Putin hit out at “frankly, provocative statements” by Western officials earlier this month warning of a possible imminent terrorist attack in the city. “All this resembles outright blackmail and the intention to intimidate and destabilize our society,” the president told Russia’s main internal security service, known as the FSB.


Here's video of him saying it.

Three days before one of the worst terror attacks in Russia's history, Putin framed the US warning as a fabricated attempt destabilize Russian society. In retrospect Putin looks like an incompetent fool and this was only a few days after his preordained victory in the most recent election. This has to be doing damage to his strongman image.

This is hardly the stability and security for which so many Russians voted for Putin. For years, the Kremlin strongman has been cast as a leader able to guarantee order in this vast, turbulent country...

The mutinous uprising last year of Yevgeny Prigozhin was a shocking, unprecedented challenge to Kremlin authority.

But now, the focus is firmly on the apparent reappearance in Russia of jihadists, unrelated to the Ukraine war or domestic opposition to the Kremlin. To make matters worse, the US and other Western governments warned of intelligence suggesting such an attack in early March.

Of course the body count from this terror attack, as terrible as it is, is only going to be a tiny fraction of the body count from the ongoing war Putin launched in Ukraine. What is it going to take for Russians to decide they've finally had enough of this guy? Until that day comes, his propagandists will just keep lying.


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