Russia links Moscow attack to 'Ukrainian nationalists'; US rubbishes claim

Russia said Thursday it had evidence the perpetrators of last week's massacre at a concert hall outside Moscow were linked to "Ukrainian nationalists", a claim that the United States called nonsense.

President Vladimir Putin and his security services continue to allege Kyiv and the West were involved somehow in last Friday's attack, despite an Islamic State (IS) group affiliate having claimed responsibility.

Putin said Saturday that 11 people had been detained after gunmen stormed the Crocus City Hall, setting the building alight and killing at least 143 people.

"As a result of work with the detained terrorists, examination of the technical devices seized from them and analysis of information on financial transactions, evidence of their links with Ukrainian nationalists has been obtained," Russia's Investigative Committee said on Thursday.

It alleged the suspects had received "significant amounts of money and cryptocurrency from Ukraine" and said another man "involved in financing the terrorists" had been identified and detained.

"Investigators will ask the court to remand him in custody," it said.

Ukraine and its Western allies have branded as absurd accusations they were involved.

"My uncle used to say ... that the best manure salesmen often carry their samples in their mouths," US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters Thursday.


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