Our website use cookies to improve and personalize your experience and to display advertisements (if any). Our website may also include cookies from third parties like Google Adsense, Google Analytics, and Youtube. By using the website, you consent to the use of cookies.

Gunmen kill 40 in attack at concert near Moscow, over 100 injured, Russia says

AT least 40 people were killed and over 100 hurt when gunmen in camouflage clothing opened fire with automatic weapons on people at a concert in the Crocus City Hall near Moscow, Russia’s FSB security service said.

In one of the worst such attacks in Russia in years, at least five gunmen were shown in unverified videos firing repeatedly at screaming civilians cowering in the concert hall as Soviet-era rock group “Picnic” was about to perform.

The 6,200-seat concert hall in a suburb west of Moscow, which is near a shopping mall also called Crocus City, was sold out for the performance.

Other video footage showed the men shooting people below what looked like an entrance sign to Crocus City Hall. People lying motionless in pools of blood outside the hall were also visible.

Advertisements

“Suddenly there were bangs behind us – shots. A burst of firing – I do not know what,” one witness, who asked not to be identified by name, told Reuters.

“A stampede began. Everyone ran to the escalator,” the witness said. “Everyone was screaming; everyone was running.”

Flames leapt into the sky, and plumes of black smoke rose above the venue as hundreds of blue lights from emergency vehicles flashed in the night, Reuters pictures and video showed.

Helicopters sought to douse the flames and evacuated around 100 people from the basement, Russian media reported. The roof of the venue was collapsing, state news agency RIA said.

READ:  More than 40 killed in artisanal mine collapse in southwest Mali - mines ministry

Russian media reported a second blast at the venue, and there were reports that some of the gunmen had barricaded themselves in the building.

It was not immediately clear who the attackers were. No group had yet claimed responsibility. Russia’s foreign ministry said it was a “bloody terrorist attack”.

ATTACK WARNING

Two weeks ago, the U.S. embassy in Russia warned that “extremists” had imminent plans for an attack in Moscow.

The embassy issued its warning several hours after the FSB said it had foiled an attack on a Moscow synagogue by a cell of the militant Sunni Muslim group Islamic State.

President Vladimir Putin, who was on Sunday re-elected for a new six-year term, sent thousands of troops into Ukraine in 2022 and has repeatedly warned that various powers – including countries in the West – are seeking to sow chaos inside Russia.

Putin is receiving regular updates about the incident, the Kremlin said.

“Vladimir Putin was informed about the beginning of the shooting in the first minutes of what happened in Crocus City Hall,” the Kremlin said.

Advertisements

“The president constantly receives information about what is happening and about the measures being taken through all relevant services. The head of state gave all the necessary instructions,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

SECURITY TIGHTENED

After the attack, Russia tightened security at airports, transportation stations and across the capital – a vast urban area of over 21 million people.

READ:  Brittney Griner faces bleak life in Russian penal colony

“A terrible tragedy occurred in the shopping centre Crocus City today,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said. “I am sorry for the loved ones of the victims.”

The White House said that images of the shooting were hard to watch while Germany’s foreign ministry called the images “horrific.”

“…Our thoughts obviously are going to be with the victims of this terrible, terrible shooting attack,” White House spokesman John Kirby said.

Germany foreign ministry said on X, “The background must be clarified quickly. Our deepest condolences go out to the families of the victims.”

“The entire world community is obliged to condemn this monstrous crime,” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. “All efforts are being thrown at saving people.”

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said that Kyiv “had absolutely nothing to do with these events” in a video message posted on Telegram while Kirby said there was “no indication at this time that Ukraine, or Ukrainians were involved in the shooting.”

Zakharova questioned how the U.S. knew this and said Washington should immediately pass any information it had to Moscow, or stop making such statements.

“On what basis do officials in Washington draw any conclusions in the midst of a tragedy about someone’s innocence?” Zakharova said.

Advertisements
By GUY FAULCONBRIDGE and ANDREW OSBORN

MORE FROM THIS SECTION