Putin vows to find masterminds of Moscow concert hall attack

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed on Tuesday to track down the masterminds of the Moscow concert hall attack that left 144 people dead in the worst assault on Russian soil in two decades, and urged the country’s law enforcement agencies to tighten security at mass gatherings. Putin has repeatedly sought to link the March 22 attack to Ukraine and the West despite the Islamic State group’s claim of responsibility and Kyiv’s vehement denial.

Speaking at a meeting with top officials of the Interior Ministry that oversees the nation’s police force, Putin said it is important to determine “not only the perpetrators of this outrage, but all links in the chain and its beneficiaries.”

He added, in an apparent threat of retaliation: “Those who use this weapon against Russia should realize it’s a double-edged weapon.” Putin said that the masterminds of the concert hall raid sought to “sow discord and panic, strife and hatred in our multiethnic country in order to break up Russia from within,” adding that “we mustn’t allow them to do that.” “It’s inadmissible to use the tragic event to provoke ethnic tensions, xenophobia and Islamophobia,” he said.

Russian security agencies have detained four suspected gunmen, all of them citizens of Tajikistan, and seven other suspects. The attack has fuelled ant-migrant sentiments and drawn calls from Russian hawks to limit migration despite the fact that the Russian economy strongly depends on migrant workers, most of them citizens of ex-Soviet nations in Central Asia.

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