The Crocus City Hall burns after a mass killing claimed by the Islamic State, near Moscow, Russia, March 22, 2024 (Sergei Vedyashkin/Moscow News Agency)

EA-Times Radio Special: How Ukraine Threatens Putin’s Election “Win”

Friday’s Coverage: Russian Missile Strike Threatens Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant

Map: Institute for the Study of War


A civilian has been killed and two others injured by Russian shelling of the village of Ocheretyne in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.

A 72-year-old man was killed in the village of Vovchanski Khutory in the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine.

In the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, one person was slain and three injured on Friday. A multi-story building and 14 private houses were damaged.


The Islamic State has again claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack on the Crocus City concert hall.

ISIS said the assault was carried out by four members armed with machine guns, a pistol, knives, and firebombs, killing “dozens of Christians” as part of a “raging war” with countries that it claimed were fighting Islam.


US officials say they gathered intelligence this month that Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K), based in Afghanistan, is targeting Russia.

ISPK had been relatively quiet until recently. It then stepped up efforts to launch attacks, but some plots were thwarted, leaving experts to believe that the group had diminished scope.

Colin Clarke, a counterterrorism analyst at the Soufan Group, says, “ISIS-K has been fixated on Russia for the past two years [and] accuses the Kremlin of having Muslim blood in its hands, referencing Moscow’s interventions in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Syria.”


The death toll from Friday’s attack on the Crocus City concert hall has risen to 133.

Another 107 people are hospitalized. Three children are among them, one in critical condition.

In a 5 1/2-minute video address, Vladimir Putin has declared, “Investigative and law enforcement agencies will do everything to establish all the details of the crime,” comparing the attackers to Nazis.

Putin repeated the line of Russian security services that the assailants were apprehended as they “tried to hide and moved towards Ukraine, where, according to preliminary data, a window was prepared for them on the Ukrainian side to cross the state border”.

Ukrainian officials again pushed back the blame as “another lie” from the Kremlin.

Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for Ukraine military intelligence, said:

This is of course another lie from the Russian special services, which has nothing in common with reality and does not stand up against any criticism.

Ukraine was of course not involved in this terror attack. Ukraine is defending its sovereignty from Russian invaders, liberating its own territory and is fighting with the occupiers’ army and military targets, not civilians.

Presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak added:


UK military intelligence assesses that it is “unlikely that Russia will be able to protect all the vulnerable facilties” of its energy infrastructure, including oil refineries.

The analysts note a statement by Ukrainina intelligence that a dozen refineries have been struck in 2024, including six within a week.

The UK officials conclude:

Recent strikes against refineries have likely disrupted at least 10 per cent of Russia’s refinery capacity.

Depending on the extent of the damage, major repairs could take considerable time and expense. Sanctions are highly likely increasing the time and cost of sourcing replacement equipment.


The death toll from the attack on the Crocus City concert hall has risen to 115, according to Russia’s Investigative Committee.

The Committee said 121 people are believed to have been hospitalized. About 60, including several children, are in “serious” or “extremely serious” condition.

Russia’s State security service declared the arrest of 11 suspects, including four attackers. It said, without presenting evidence, that the suspects were attempting to flee to the Russia-Ukraine border: “They had contacts on the Ukrainian side.”


Indian refineries are refusing to accept crude oil transported on Russian PJSC Sovcomflot tankers, which account for 15% of Moscow’s shipments to India, because of US sanctions on Russia’s exports.

India propped up Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine with a sharp increase in imports of Russian oil in 2022, but began reducing the purchases last autumn.

Indian refineries risk secondary sanctions if they take Russian crude priced above the cap of $60 per barrel set by the G7 nations and the European Union. Russia is also reportedly hesitant to take payment in rupees, because of the issue of convertibility.


Senior Ukrainian officials have pushed back on a report that US officials have asked Kyiv to halt successful strikes on Russia’s energy infrastructure, including oil refineries (see Friday’s Coverage).

“Three people familiar with the discussions” said the Americans cited the consequence of rising oil prices and the risk of Russian retaliation, including on a pipeline from Kazakhstan to Russia used by Western oil companies.

The Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, told the Kyiv Security Forum:

Regarding our war — and the key phrase here is “our war” — we are not going to ask anyone what to attack on the territory of Russia.

As far as Russia’s military-industrial complex is concerned, we will not be asking anyone for permission.


Ukraine air defenses downed 31 of 34 Iran-type “kamikaze” drones fired by Russia early Saturday.

The Russians also launched four S-300 missiles from occupied eastern Ukraine.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: At least 60 people have been killed and 145 wounded in an attack near Moscow claimed by the Islamic State.

At least four gunmen in combat fatigues entered the Crocus City Hall on Friday night, opened fire, and detonated explosives. The subsequent fire partially destroyed the building, collapsing the roof.

A spokesperson for Russia’s Investigative Committee said the death toll could rise, with about 60 of the injured in serious condition. He added that it was too early to say anything about the fate of the attackers.

The Islamic State said its fighters had struck on the outskirts of Moscow, “killing and wounding hundreds and causing great destruction to the place before they withdrew to their bases safely”.

A US official spoke of intelligence confirming that ISIS carried out the mass killing. Russian authorities launched a manhunt, telling residents in Moscow and its suburbs to be vigilant.

Crocus City Hall is part of a large complex — including a shopping mall, a convention center and several hotels and restaurants — on the northwestern outskirts of Moscow, about 20 km (12.5 miles) from Red Square.

On Friday, the 6,200-seat venue featured a sold-out concert by the Russian Soviet-era rock band Piknik.

A concertgoer, Alexei, said he was settling into his seat when he heard “several machine gun bursts” and “a lot of screams”: “I realised right away that it was automatic gunfire and understood that most likely it’s the worst: a terrorist attack.”

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

Video showed people begging for help from the roof of the concert hall as it burned behind them. Others screamed as they crawled on hands and knees out of the venue or fleeing down stairwells.

Footage of the gunmen moving through the hall:

Russian authorities had said that they foiled an Islamic State attack on a synagogue on March 7. A day later, the US Embassy posted that it was “monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts, and US citizens should be advised to avoid large gatherings over the next 48 hours”.

A US official said, “We did warn the Russians appropriately.”

But Putin had called the warnings from western embassies a “provocation”: “All this resembles outright blackmail and the intention to intimidate and destabilize our society.”

Reactions from Moscow and Kyiv

Putin, re-elected only five days earlier in an orchestrated ballot, wished all the injured a speedy recovery. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin canceled all cultural and sporting events at the weekend, and Russian railways and major utilities stepped up security.

Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, posted her condolences.

What a nightmare in Crocus. Condolences to the families of the victims and recovery to the injured. All those involved in this crime must be found and held accountable.

Presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak denied any involvement by Ukraine in the Crocus City Hall mass killing near Moscow.

Ukraine certainly has nothing to do with the shooting/explosions in the Crocus City Hall (Moscow Region, Russia). It makes no sense whatsoever …

Ukraine has been fighting with the Russian army for more than two years. And everything in this war will be decided only on the battlefield. Only by the quantity of weapons and qualitative military decisions. Terrorist attacks do not solve any problems….

Ukraine has never resorted to the use of terrorist methods. It is always pointless. Unlike, by the way, Russia itself, which uses terrorist attacks in the current war against Ukraine.

US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby echoed, “There’s no indication at this time that Ukraine, or Ukrainians were involved in the shooting….We’re taking a look at it, but I would disabuse you at this early hour of any connection to Ukraine.”

But Russia’s former President Dmitry Medvedev, now the Deputy Chair of the State Security Council, tried to exploit the attack as a rationale for Russia’s 25-month invasion and mass killings in Ukraine.

If it is established that they are terrorists of the Kyiv regime, it’s impossible to treat them and those who inspired them differently.

They all should be found and relentlessly destroyed as terrorists. Including officials of the state that committed such an evil thing. Death for death.