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Russia Mourns Victims Of Tragic Concert Attack

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On Sunday, Russia lowered its flags to half-mast to observe a day of mourning following a tragic incident where scores of individuals were fatally shot with automatic weapons at a rock concert near Moscow. This marks the deadliest attack within Russia in two decades. President Vladimir Putin declared a national day of mourning, expressing his condolences to the nation and vowing to apprehend and punish those responsible for the attack, which claimed the lives of 133 people, including three children, and left over 150 injured.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, although Putin did not directly attribute the militant group to the perpetrators. Instead, he mentioned that the attackers were attempting to flee to Ukraine, alleging preparations on “the Ukrainian side” to assist them. Ukraine, however, has vehemently denied any involvement, with Putin also attributing the incident to “international terrorism.”

In solidarity with the victims, people paid their respects by laying flowers at the Crocus City Hall, where the tragic events unfolded. The assailants, armed with automatic weapons, disrupted the concert just before the performance of the popular Soviet-era rock group Picnic, resulting in chaos and devastation reminiscent of the 2004 Beslan school siege.

Efforts to assist the injured were evident as long queues formed in Moscow for blood donations. Meanwhile, in Voronezh, citizens gathered to honor the memory of the victims, drawing parallels to a World War Two bombing incident. Governor Alexander Gusev conveyed the region’s solidarity with those affected.

Putin revealed that 11 individuals, including the four gunmen, were apprehended, with some attempting to escape towards Ukraine. These gunmen reportedly had connections in Ukraine and were intercepted near the border by Russia’s Federal Security Service.

The situation prompted reflections on Putin’s previous actions, particularly his decision to invade Ukraine in 2022, sparking a significant conflict. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy condemned Putin’s attempt to shift blame, labeling it characteristic of him and “other thugs.”

Video footage emerged showing one of the suspects admitting to carrying out the attack for monetary gain. Despite the Islamic State claiming responsibility, the motive behind targeting Russia at this time remains unclear. The White House clarified that there was no Ukrainian involvement, sharing information about a planned attack with Russia earlier in the month and emphasizing Islamic State’s sole responsibility for the incident.