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Russia knew of Crocus City Hall terror plot by 15 Feb – Budanov

The Ukrainian intelligence chief cited two potential reasons the Kremlin allowed the attack despite early warning.
Russia knew of Crocus City Hall terror plot by 15 Feb - Budanov
Kyrylo Budanov at the Kyiv Stratcom Forum 2024. Photo:
Russia knew of Crocus City Hall terror plot by 15 Feb – Budanov

Russia knew about preparations for a terrorist attack on its territory as early as mid-February, according to Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate. He stated that Russia was aware of where the combat groups would come from and the two countries they transited through.

“At the very least, as of 15 February 2024, Russia knew about the preparations. I’ll tell you more – this information went through the intelligence directorate of the grouping in Syria. That’s where it came from to Moscow,” Budanov said at the Kyiv Stratcom Forum 2024.

According to the Ukrainian intelligence chief, there are a couple potential reasons why the Kremlin still allowed the attack to be carried out despite having early warning.

“First – it’s their usual ‘tower battles’ to remove a few officials now. Another option is that they actually underestimated the scale of what would happen. They thought it would be more localized, and they wanted to blame Ukraine for everything,” the head of Ukrainian intelligence stated.

In the aftermath of the Crocus City Mall attack near Moscow, the Kremlin has repeatedly changed its narrative while persistently trying to construct an alleged “Ukrainian trail” of responsibility, despite Russia itself setting the chaotic forces in motion. Budanov bluntly assessed that no intelligence agency has truly achieved “controlled chaos” as they often attempt.

“Absolutely all somewhat serious organizations have tried to do this at various times. And the axiom is that none of them have been able to make it controlled. The same thing happened here,” the head of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate concluded.

The shooting attack occurred on the evening of 22 March when crowds gathered for a concert at the Crocus City Hall concert center on the outskirts of Moscow. 143 people were killed, 360 were injured and 95 are still missing.

The international terrorist organization Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack on Crocus City. US shortly after confirmed IS’s responsibility for the attack. However, Russian propaganda attempted to link these attacks to Ukraine.

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