Tuesday Briefing

Mourners brought flowers to memorials around Moscow, including Crocus City Hall, the concert venue that was attacked. Credit…Nanna Heitmann for The New York Times

Putin insisted Ukraine could have been behind terror attack

President Vladimir Putin of Russia acknowledged for the first time that “radical Islamists” had carried out the attack on a concert hall near Moscow, while insisting that Ukraine could still have played a role.

“This atrocity can be just an element in a series of attempts of those who have been at war with our country since 2014,” Putin said during a publicly broadcast meeting with government officials, referring to the Ukrainian government. He questioned why the four suspects in the Friday attack, which killed at least 139 people, had been captured in a part of Russia that borders Ukraine.

Russian state media has been pushing the narrative that Ukraine was behind the attack, even though the Islamic State claimed responsibility. The U.S. and France both said that an Islamic State entity was responsible, and Ukraine has denied involvement. Russian investigators have shown no evidence that the four suspects, migrant workers from Tajikistan, have any connection to Ukraine.

The suspects: The four men looked battered when they were arraigned, and videos of them being tortured and beaten during interrogation circulated widely on Russian social media. A New York Times visual investigation linked them to the attack.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the possibility of an Israeli ground invasion in the city of Rafah have increased global pressure to negotiate a cease-fire.Credit…Eyad Baba/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
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