Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Tuesday the attackers who carried out last week's massacre at a Moscow concert hall tried fleeing to his country first, but turned away because of checkpoints.

"That's why there was no way they could enter Belarus. They saw that. That's why they turned away and went to the section of the Ukrainian-Russian border," Lukashenko said, contradicting Russia's claim they tried crossing into Ukraine first.

The Kremlin has expressed confidence in the country's powerful security agencies, despite questions swirling over how they failed to thwart the massacre after public and private warnings from the United States. 

Islamic State jihadists have said several times since Friday that they were responsible, and IS-affiliated media channels have published graphic videos of the gunmen inside the venue.


French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said Paris had information that the jihadists were responsible and warned Russia against exploiting the attack to blame Ukraine.

The concert hall massacre was a major blow for Putin just over a week after he claimed a new term after one-sided elections the Kremlin billed as an endorsement of his military operation against Ukraine. 

Putin on Monday said for the first time that "radical Islamists" were behind last week's attack, but sought to tie it to Kyiv. 

Without providing any evidence, Putin connected the attack at Crocus City Hall to a series of incursions into Russian territory by pro-Ukrainian sabotage groups, and said they were all part of efforts to "sow panic in our society".

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- Eighth suspect remanded -

A court in Moscow meanwhile on Tuesday remanded an eighth suspect in custody over the attack at the Moscow concert hall.

Moscow earlier announced it had detained 11 people in connection with the attack, which saw camouflaged gunmen storm into Crocus City Hall, open fire on concert-goers and set the building ablaze.

The court's press service said the latest suspect to be remanded was a man originally from the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan. 


Officials said he was ordered to be held in detention until at least May 22, without detailing the exact accusations against him. 

Four men charged on Sunday with carrying out the attack are citizens of Tajikistan, also in mainly Muslim Central Asia.

Three more suspects -- reportedly from the same family and including at least one Russian citizen -- were charged on terror-related offences on Monday.

A Turkish official said two of the Tajik suspects had travelled "freely between Russia and Turkey" ahead of the attack. 

The two had both spent time in Turkey shortly before the attack and entered Russia together on the same flight from Istanbul, the official said.

All of those held in custody have been charged with terrorism and face up to life in prison. 

The Kremlin has so far pushed back at suggestions the death penalty will be re-introduced after the attack. 

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Comments (3)
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Oh dear contradicting your master Putin! Not good 😬

Jack Griffin
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@Ben, yep this big one will take the window frame with. And no flying for years.
litterly somebody else
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so belarus is in on this big time
belarus is in this war all from the beginning
belarus socalled leader is just a follower, he is a sheep, he is a nobody, he is all black energy of haterd