A Bloomberg article reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle does not believe his rhetoric that Ukraine was involved in the deadly concert hall attack in Moscow on March 22.

According to “four people with close ties to the Kremlin,” who wished to stay anonymous due to the subject’s sensitivity, nearly no one they know within Russia’s political and business elite believes Ukraine was behind the Crocus City Hall attack, which took the lives of 139 people, Bloomberg reported.

One of them told Bloomberg that Putin was present during the discussions after the attack that demonstrated no links to Kyiv, but the Russian president was determined to utilize the attack to frame Ukraine and rally support for his war.

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Following the attack, Putin acknowledged the involvement of “radical Islamists” but continued to accuse Kyiv of aiding the suspects’ escape into Ukraine, a claim Kyiv categorically denied.

Moscow’s official narrative stated that the suspects were arrested en route to the Ukrainian border, which conflicted with initial reports of their arrest near the Belarusian border. Putin’s staunch ally, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, also boasted of Belarusian special services’ role in capturing the suspects, which further contradicts Moscow’s narrative.

Individuals from Russian intelligence circles also claimed the West and Ukraine were to blame for the attack with no supporting evidence.

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In response to the Bloomberg article, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Maria Zakharova called it “mother of all fakes.”

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