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West protests too much about Kiev’s possible role in Moscow terror attack – Lavrov

The intensity of their insistence on Ukraine’s innocence is unusual, the Russian foreign minister has said

The US and the EU are downright obsessive in insisting on Ukraine’s innocence in the Crocus City Hall massacre, to the point of such behavior being a little suspicious, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview published on Friday.

The terrorist group “Islamic State Khorasan” (ISIS-K) took responsibility for last Friday’s terrorist attack in which 143 Russians were killed and over 200 ended up in hospital with injuries. Washington and Brussels immediately declared that ISIS-K was the sole culprit and no evidence whatsoever pointed to Kiev.

“The West is actively trying to convince everyone that this is the work of ISIS and there is no longer any need to suspect anyone, especially Ukraine,” Lavrov told Izvestiya in a video interview published on Friday. “They keep insisting that Kiev is not to blame, to the point where it’s becoming obsessive.”

Lavrov pointed out that four suspected gunmen were attempting to flee to Ukraine when they were caught by Russian security forces.

“We have repeatedly said that we do not make any final conclusions until the investigation is completed. The investigation is still working on the facts, new circumstances are being revealed, but we simply do not have the right to exclude obvious possibilities,” the foreign minister said.

Meanwhile, Lavrov said, the West is “suspiciously active” in trying to persuade everyone that Ukraine had nothing to do with the attack.

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“Not just publicly, but they also say in contacts through our diplomatic missions: ‘There is no need to suspect Ukraine,’ but they never explain why,” he said. “From the standpoint of sound logic, answering the question ‘who benefits,’ we can’t exclude Ukraine.”

Both Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova have previously commented on the Western insistence that Kiev was not to blame, without any evidence to actually corroborate that claim. Russian intelligence and law enforcement said they have discovered evidence the suspects had received a substantial amount of cryptocurrency from Ukraine as payment for the attack.

Washington claimed its March 7 warning about an impending attack amounted to counter-terrorism cooperation. According to the New York Times, however, the US did not share the full intelligence it had on the attack to shield “sources and methods” from Russian scrutiny.

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Lavrov noted that the public warning was addressed to Americans, in English, and not to the Russian government. He also criticized the EU for falsely claiming it had suspended cooperation with Moscow on counter-terrorism in 2022, due to the Ukraine conflict.

“We tried to persuade the EU for years to establish a mechanism for exchanging information and coordinate the struggle against terrorism,” Lavrov told Izvestiya. 

“We managed to set something up only in 2018, but the last meeting took place in 2019. After that, they lost all interest,” he added. “So their refusal to work with us on specific issues of counterterrorism dates long before the special military operation in Ukraine, on which they now blame all of their failures and try to hide their true intentions.”

March 29, 2024 at 04:21AM
RT

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