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White House: Putin linking Ukraine to Moscow attack ‘nonsense,’ ‘propaganda’

The White House on Thursday offered a fiery refutation to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claims linking the Moscow attack, carried out by ISIS-K, to Ukraine.

“I want to just take a moment to respond to both the nonsense and the propaganda that we’ve been seeing coming from the Kremlin and the Russian government over the past few days about the ISIS terrorist attack on the concert hall, which sadly took the lives of more than 140 people,” national security communications adviser John Kirby told reporters.

He said that “contrary” to public statements from Putin and others “who have sought to deflect blame onto Ukraine, the United States, and everyone else who suits their political narratives, it’s abundantly clear that ISIS was solely responsible for the horrific terrorist attack in Moscow last week.”

Putin has linked Friday’s attack, in which multiple gunmen opened fire into a crowd at the Crocus City Hall and set fire to the music venue, to Ukraine. Putin on Monday admitted the assailants were “radical Islamists,” but he said the attack could benefit Ukraine after saying Saturday the attackers were fleeing toward Ukraine.

United States intelligence has supported the conclusion that ISIS-K, which is the Afghanistan affiliate of the Islamic State group, is responsible for the attack after the group claimed it.

“ISIS bears full responsibility for the attack,” Kirby said. “It reminds me of something my uncle used to say — had a small farm and raised a few cattle in a place near Ocala, Fla., — used to say that the best manure salesman often carries their samples in their mouths.”

“Russian officials seem to be pretty good manure salesmen,” he added. 

The attack highlighted Russia’s failure to safeguard against such threats and to heed calls from the U.S. to prevent the attack before it occurred.

Kirby outlined that the U.S. provided information to Russian authorities about the threat ahead of the attack, passed a warning in writing to Russia and warned American citizens to avoid large gatherings and concerts in Moscow.

“We provide this information to Russia because the United States takes very seriously our duty to warn and never want to see innocent lives lost in terrorist attacks,” Kirby said on Thursday.

Source: The Hill

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