The US warned Russia against an attack in Moscow | iRADIO

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More than two weeks before terrorists attacked the suburbs of Moscow, the US government told Russian officials that the popular Crocus City Hall concert hall on the outskirts of the metropolis could be the target. Citing US officials, The Washington Post said it contradicted Moscow’s earlier claim that US warnings were too general to help prevent the attack.



Washington
12:43 p.m April 3, 2024

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Men cover themselves with blankets as a Russian law enforcement officer stands guard at the burning Crocus City Hall concert hall after a reported shooting, outside Moscow, Russia, March 22, 2024 | Photo: Maxim Shemetov | Source: Reuters

The Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization has repeatedly claimed responsibility for the bloodiest attack in Russia in the past 20 years, which according to the authorities has left at least 144 dead and 551 injured.

However, Moscow continues to seek connections between the attackers and Ukraine, and thus the West. The Russian allegation of a link with the attack, unsupported by any evidence, was rejected by both Kyiv and Washington.


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The US warned Moscow in advance of the threat of Islamic extremists, but Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly rejected this warning as an alleged attempt to intimidate and blackmail Russian society.

The director of the Russian FSB secret service, Alexander Bortnikov, admitted a few days ago that the Russian authorities warned the US about the danger of an attack by extremists, but according to him, it was a general warning. The head of the Russian SVR civilian intelligence, Sergei Naryshkin, made a similar statement on Tuesday, according to him, the Americans passed on the information to the FSB.

“The information was too general and did not allow us to fully identify those involved,” Naryshkin told Interfax.

Unnamed US officials have now said, according to The Washington Post, that Washington had warned Moscow specifically of a potential attack at Crocus City Hall. In this case, the Americans shared very specific information about terrorist plans with a country with which they do not have friendly relations, which is an unusual step, the newspaper noted.

While Washington routinely shares information about potential terrorist attacks with other countries under a policy known as the “duty to warn,” it is unusual to provide information about specific targets to a country considered an adversary, the paper said.

There is a risk that it could be revealed how the US obtained the information, which could endanger its secret surveillance activities or people.

Danger to Americans in Russia

Information that pointed to an attack on the concert hall, however, also represented a potential danger for Americans in Russia, The Washington Post wrote.

He recalled that the U.S. Embassy publicly announced on March 7 that it was “following reports that extremists have imminent plans to attack large gatherings in Moscow, including concerts,” and advised U.S. citizens to avoid large gatherings in the next 48 hours.

The United States shared its information with Russia a day before that public warning, according to people familiar with the matter. America’s designation of Crocus City Hall as a potential target raises new questions about why Russian authorities have not taken stronger measures to protect the site, The Washington Post noted.

Naryshkin said Russian authorities had taken “appropriate measures” to prevent the attack in response to American information.

However, video from the scene of the massacre shows that the attackers did not face significant resistance, and according to Russian media, special forces arrived more than an hour after the shooting began and then waited more than half an hour before entering the building, writes The Washington Post.

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The attack further undermined the image of strength and security that the Russian leader is trying to project, and revealed fundamental weaknesses in the country’s security apparatus, which has been engulfed in more than two years of war in Ukraine, according to the American newspaper.

At home, Putin’s operatives seem more concerned with silencing political dissent and opposition to the president than eliminating terrorist plots, analysts say.

Despite Crocus City Hall’s lack of security, there are signs that Russian authorities took Washington’s warning seriously, at least initially, the paper said, adding that one US official said the warning also covered Islamic State plans to attack the synagogue. A day after Russia received the information, the FSB announced that it had prevented an IS attack on a synagogue in Moscow.

CTK

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