George Galloway accuses UK of being involved in Moscow terror attack

Newly elected MP George Galloway has accused the UK of being involved in last week’s Moscow terror attack in comments seized upon by a Kremlin-linked newspaper.

The Rochdale MP accused the US and the UK of lying about the involvement of Isis in the attack, which killed at least 139 people and injured around 360, on his talk show on YouTube.

In the month after his return to parliament, described as a “dark day” for Britain’s Jewish community, Mr Galloway espoused conspiracy theories about the Princess of Wales being dead and likened Israel to Nazi Germany.

MPs criticised his latest intervention as irresponsible, reckless and playing into the Kremlin’s hands. The foreign secretary, David Cameron, also described claims that the West and Ukraine were involved in the Crocus City Hall attack as “utter nonsense” in a post on Twitter/X.

In a recent episode of his YouTube chat show, Mr Galloway said: “When the US, UK and others quickly tried to assure me that it was only Isis (banned in the Russian Federation) that committed this massacre in Moscow, I automatically realised that they were lying.

Galloway’s claims were condemned as ‘reckless’ and ‘irresponsible’ (YouTube)
Galloway’s claims were condemned as ‘reckless’ and ‘irresponsible’ (YouTube)

“And this is what I discovered: first of all, no one has explained the unannounced visit of former president Barack Obama to meet British politicians and security officials in Downing Street three days before this terrorist crime was committed.

“Researching even further, I discovered that Victoria Nuland [former senior US diplomat], this harbinger of death, this angel of death, who, if she approaches you, you can be sure that civil war is coming in your country. And she promised the Russians some unpleasant surprises in the coming weeks and months.”

The comments were quickly picked up by Rossiyskaya Gazeta, a newspaper published by the Russian government, which cited him as an expert discussing the attack.

Mr Galloway said he had “four pieces of evidence that lead me to believe that the United States, its Nato allies, and their puppet stump state Ukraine are, in fact, responsible for this massacre”.

Mr Galloway told The Independent he had never heard of the Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

The new MP’s reported comments align with Russian president Vladimir Putin’s spurious claims that Ukraine is somehow responsible for the attack, despite there being no evidence to suggest this.

Western analysts have warned that Putin has a history of using terrorist attacks to justify wars of aggression, and is likely planning to do the same for the latest Moscow incident.

The remarks prompted a series of criticism from MPs.

Tobias Ellwood, the former chair of parliament’s defence committee, said the claims were irresponsible and reckless: “Whilst his words will be quickly dismissed as a typically far-fetched, factually incorrect rant, Moscow will exploit this to spin its own domestic narrative that Nato is to blame.

“Galloway’s words are not only irresponsible but reckless.”

Conservative Bob Seely, who sits on the foreign affairs committee, said he “completely disagreed” with Mr Galloway’s claims. He added: “There is absolutely no evidence that the US or the UK or Ukraine or Nato were in any way responsible, and sadly this sort of wild speculation plays into the hands of the Kremlin and will be used to support this absolute fiction of a claim.”

Senior Tory MP Henry Smith added that it was outrageous for a British MP to “wave the flag for Russia by claiming this was a Nato act”.

On Tuesday night, Mr Galloway replied directly to Lord Cameron’s statement on Twitter/X describing claims of British involvement in the attack as “utter nonsense” by writing: “Of course you do.”

Barack Obama visited the prime minister in No 10 for around an hour (PA)
Barack Obama visited the prime minister in No 10 for around an hour (PA)

Despite trying to pin the blame on Ukraine, two days after the attack Mr Putin admitted that radical Islamist terrorists were responsible for the killings, but added: “Now we want to know who ordered it.”

In the article including Mr Galloway’s claims were quotes from Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s security council, and Federal Security Service (FSB) director Alexander Bortnikov, attempting to link Ukraine to the attack. Mr Bortnikov has gone as far as making the bizarre claim that the US and UK were behind the attack alongside Ukraine.

The article led with a response from Mr Patrushev to a question of whether Isis or Ukraine was responsible for the Moscow attack. “Of course, Ukraine,” said Mr Patrushev, without providing evidence. The article then runs quotes from FSB director Mr Bortnikov claiming that Ukrainian special services had been training terrorists in the Middle East – again, without providing evidence.

A top advisor to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky later accused both Mr Patrushev and Mr Bortnikov of “officially spreading lies”.

Terror group Isis has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Crocus City Hall last Friday, and the US, UK, Ukraine and several other Western nations have corroborated this claim.

Russian officials have accused Ukraine and the West of being involved in the deadly Moscow concert hall attack (POOL/AFP via Getty)
Russian officials have accused Ukraine and the West of being involved in the deadly Moscow concert hall attack (POOL/AFP via Getty)

Multiple counterintelligence analysts have also told The Independent that the attack bore all the hallmarks of Isis Khorasan, an offshoot of the terrorist group with a heavy presence in Tajikistan, which is also the nationality of all four of the suspected gunmen.

Mr Galloway was controversially returned to parliament this month after winning the Rochdale by-election, in which Labour was forced to drop its own candidate. After the contest, the Board of Deputies of British Jews condemned Mr Galloway’s win as a “dark day” for the UK’s Jewish community, while Rishi Sunak warned democracy is under attack from far-right and Islamist extremists.

The prime minister said it was “beyond alarming” voters had backed a candidate who “dismisses the horror of what happened on October 7”, when Hamas murdered 1,200 people in Israel.

Mr Galloway was a Labour MP until being expelled in 2003 for his opposition to the invasion of Iraq. His independent campaign in Rochdale was heavily focused on the war in Gaza, where Israel has undertaken a near-six month bombardment and blockade with the aim of eradicating Hamas following a terror attack inside Israel during which around 1,200 people were killed and another 250 taken hostage.

At least 32,000 Palestinians have died in the Israeli assault that has followed, according to health officials in the Hamas-run territory.

Painting the Rochdale by-election as an opportunity to send a message of support to those inside Gaza, after winning the contest Mr Galloway declared: “Keir Starmer, this is for Gaza.”

But since being elected Mr Galloway has been absent from multiple Commons debates about the conflict. He has long been a critic of Nato and called for Britain to withdraw from the military alliance.

He has also repeatedly been accused of spreading conspiracy theories, including recently speculating that the Princess of Wales was “dead” and that the April 2022 Russian massacre of civilians in Bucha, just north of Kyiv, was likely staged.

A couple of months after Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Mr Galloway threatened to sue Twitter/X after the social network labelled his account “Russian state-affiliated media”.

Mr Galloway, whose radio programme The Mother of All Talk Shows was broadcast on the Russian state-owned Sputnik service during the first months of the invasion, said he would sue Twitter/X for defamation unless it rescinds the label.

“I work for NO Russian media. I have 400,000 followers. I’m the leader of a British political party and spent nearly 30 years in the British parliament,” he tweeted at the time.