The head of Russia’s FSB security agency, Alexander Bortnikov, said Tuesday that Western and Ukrainian intelligence aided the assailants in the recent Moscow concert hall attack, which claimed numerous lives.

Despite President Vladimir Putin’s acknowledgment of “radical Islamists” perpetrating the attack, Russia continues to point fingers at Ukraine, alleging its involvement.

Bortnikov claimed that the assault was orchestrated by radical Islamists with assistance from Western and Ukrainian services, further alleging a direct link between the attackers and Ukrainian authorities. However, these claims remain unsupported.

“We believe the action was prepared both by the radical Islamists themselves and, of course, facilitated by Western special services, and Ukraine’s special services themselves have a direct connection to this,” FSB head Alexander Bortnikov was cited as saying by Russian news agencies.

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The FSB chief reiterated the Kremlin's stance that the attackers planned to escape across the Ukrainian border, an assertion dismissed by Kyiv as baseless.

“I’ll let you in on a little secret: they were going to be greeted as heroes on the other side,” Bortnikov said.

He added that while Russia understood who organized the attack, “the one who ordered it has not been identified yet.”

Another senior Russian official, the secretary of Russia’s powerful Security Council, Nikolai Patrushevon, has also laid the blame on Ukraine for orchestrating the attack on the Moscow concert hall.

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“Of course, Ukraine,” said Patrushev on Tuesday, answering a question on whether Kyiv or the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility, was behind Friday’s attack.

Despite the claims from the jihadist group and assertions from US intelligence, Moscow has sought to divert blame for the tragedy onto Kyiv, which has vehemently denied any link to the attackers.

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Ukraine has vehemently denied any involvement, while the Islamic State has repeatedly claimed responsibility for the attack, with affiliated media outlets releasing videos purportedly showing the gunmen inside the venue.

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