Rescue operation over at concert hall, official says

The rescue operation on the scene of the Moscow attack is over, according to Moscow Oblast Gov. Andrey Vorobyov.

The search for victims at the concert hall is ongoing.

“Today rescuers cleared a huge layer of the auditorium,” Vorobyov said in a statement on Telegram. “Over the course of 24 hours, 133 bodies were pulled out from under the rubble, and the identities of 50 dead were tentatively identified.”

Officials have not publicly released the identities of the 50 victims.

“At night we will start creating an opening on the western side of Crocus, this will make it easier to access the concert hall,” Vorobyov said.

Ukraine had nothing to do with Russia attack, U.S. says

The National Security Council said today in no uncertain terms that Ukraine had nothing to do with the deadly concert attack.

“ISIS bears sole responsibility for this attack. There was no Ukrainian involvement whatsoever,” NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement.

In the initial hours after the attack, Putin suggested attackers were trying to escape in the direction of Ukraine. He also accused Ukraine of preparing a “window” to help suspects escape. Ukraine has staunchly denied any involvement.

Russian officials say all four suspects believed to be behind the concert shooting are in custody.

Watson noted that the United States “shared information with Russia about a planned terrorist attack in Moscow.”

Yesterday, the security council said the warning was made “in accordance with its longstanding ‘duty to warn’ policy.”

In remarks that aired days before the attacks, Putin said the West’s warnings of any potential attacks in Russia were part of an “attempt to intimidate, destabilize our country.”

Intelligence officials have been gathering information for months that suggested ISIS could mount a mass casualty attack in Russia, U.S. officials confirmed to NBC News.

Russia’s president in a video address late today vowed dire consequences for the four suspects apprehended in the concert attack and anyone else involved in the violence.

“No one will be able to sow poisonous seeds of discord,” Putin warned in the remarks.

He also drew on history to say, essentially, that times of hardship will only make Russia stronger. “It will be so now,” he said.

29 Moscow attack victims identified

The Russian Ministry of Health has identified 29 victims of yesterday’s attack in Moscow.

The preliminary list was published by the Russian Emergency Ministry tonight. No other details about the victims, including their ages, were published.

More than 50 people who were killed in the attack have been identified so far, Moscow Oblast Gov. Andrey Vorobyov told Russian state media RIA Novosti.

‘They always blame others’: Zelenskyy denounces Putin for linking Ukraine to deadly Moscow attacks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to blame “someone else” for the Moscow attack.

Putin accused Ukraine of preparing a “window” to help the suspects in the attack escape.

“What happened yesterday in Moscow is obviously just Putin and the other scum trying to blame it on someone else,” he said in a statement shared on Telegram. “They always have the same methods. It has happened before. There have been bombed houses, shootings, and explosions. And they always blame others.”

Zelenskyy said Putin’s methods are “absolutely predictable.”

“They come to Ukraine, burn our cities, and try to blame Ukraine. They torture and rape our people — and they blame them,” he said. “They have brought hundreds of thousands of their own terrorists here, to Ukrainian soil, to fight against us, and they don’t care what happens inside their own country.”

Zelenskyy believes Putin is trying to turn the situation “in favor of his personal power.”

Fire extinguished at Crocus City Hall, Russian Emergency Ministry says

The fire at the Crocus City Hall has been extinguished, according to the Russian Emergency Ministry.

The ministry shared a video on Telegram of the destruction left behind by yesterday’s attack in the area.

Over 130 people were killed in the attack and more than 100 are in Moscow hospitals with injuries, officials said.

Rescue workers will ‘need a few more days to fully clear up the rubble’ at the Crocus concert hall, Moscow official says

Rescue workers will “need a few more days to fully clear up the rubble” at the Crocus concert hall, according to Moscow Oblast Gov. Andrey Vorobyov.

“Specialists from the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations — 104 people and 19 pieces of equipment — continue to clear the rubble in the concert hall and put out the remaining fires,” he said in a statement shared to Telegram. “Rescuers will need a few more days to fully clear up the rubble.”

Vorobyov said there is difficulty in accessing a wall that needs to be demolished in order to continue the search for victims.

“In the near future, special small equipment will arrive to help clear access and provide rescuers with passage,” he said. “This will help continue the search operation.”

Russian Investigative Committee to award man who allegedly neutralized one of the Moscow attack suspects

The Russian Investigative Committee will award a man who allegedly neutralized one of the suspects in yesterday’s attack on a Moscow concert hall that killed over 130 people.

“A man, trying to protect his wife from terrorists who were shooting at people, attacked one of them and neutralized him,” a statement on the committee’s website said. “Through his active and decisive actions, he saved the lives of the people around him at that moment.”

NBC News has not independently verified this information.

More than 50 people who were killed in the attack have been identified, Moscow Oblast Gov. Andrey Vorobyov told Russian state media RIA Novosti.

Russian media broadcasts videos it claims show detention, interrogation of suspects

The Associated Press

Russian media on Saturday broadcast videos that apparently showed the detention and interrogation of the suspects, including one who told the cameras he was approached by an unidentified assistant to an Islamic preacher via a messaging app channel and paid to take part in the raid.

Russian news reports identified the gunmen as citizens of Tajikistan, a former Soviet country in Central Asia that is predominantly Muslim and borders Afghanistan. Up to 1.5 million Tajiks have worked in Russia and many received Russian citizenship.

Putin also said that additional security measures have been imposed throughout Russia, and he declared Sunday a day of mourning.

Russia’s foes weigh in with condolences for Moscow terrorism victims

World leaders backing Ukraine in its war with Russia weighed in Saturday with condolences and condemnations of terrorist violence in the wake of the Moscow concert hall attack.

“I strongly condemn the terrorist attack against civilians in the Crocus City Hall in Moscow claimed by the Islamic State,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen posted on X, formerly Twitter. “My thoughts are with the victims and their families during this tragic time.”

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said the United Kingdom condemned “in the strongest terms the deadly terrorist attack” in Moscow.

“Nothing can ever justify such horrific violence,” Cameron posted.

French President Emmanuel Macron also went on X to express his “solidarity with the families of victims, the injured and the Russian people.”

And German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned the “terrible terrorist attack on innocent concertgoers in Moscow.”

Even the leaders of countries like Poland that have for centuries viewed Russia as their enemy expressed condolences.

“Poland strongly condemns the brutal attack at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow,” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk posted. “We all grieve for the families of the victims. We hope that this terrible tragedy will not become a pretext for anyone to escalate violence and aggression.”

Top U.S. diplomat calls Moscow massacre ‘heinous crime’

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday.Evelyn Hockstein / AFP – Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement Saturday condemning the deadly terrorist attack in Moscow. It reads as follows:

“The United States strongly condemns yesterday’s deadly terrorist attack in Moscow. We send our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed and all affected by this heinous crime. We condemn terrorism in all its forms and stand in solidarity with the people of Russia in grieving the loss of life from this horrific event.”

Putin plans to use Moscow attack to mobilize for war, historian says

Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to use yesterday’s attack on Moscow as a means to mobilize for war and to repress Russian citizens, said Sergey Radchenko, a historian and professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Putin has delivered a public address following the attack, and accused Ukraine of preparing a “window” to help the suspects escape. Kyiv has staunchly denied any role in the attack.

“Terrorism is a familiar threat to Russians, and Putin has a history of opportunistically using their fear of terrorism to consolidate his grip on power. (That’s a benign view, of course, but there’s no absolute need to embrace conspiracy theories to make this point),” Radchenko wrote on X.

Radchenko said Putin’s goal is “clear”: “more internal repression” and “mobilization of war.”

“Russia has become a giant outhouse, and things are certain to get much, much worse for Russians and for the unfortunate weakness of Russia’s terminal illness,” he wrote. “To be fair, the trends have long pointed in this direction.”

ISIS-K no stranger to U.S. intelligence

The terrorist organization believed to be behind the deadly Moscow concert hall attack is the same group that killed more than a dozen U.S. service members and dozens of civilians in 2021 during the American evacuation from Afghanistan.

The Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, is the Afghan offshoot of the Islamic State terror group, which has publicly beheaded foreign journalists and inflicted all kinds of brutalities on captured Kurds and others in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS-K also has a penchant for going after civilians it regards as infidels, experts told NBC News in the aftermath of the surprise suicide attack that stunned the Biden administration.

In the 2021 incident, a suicide bomber set off a blast near a checkpoint where Marines were checking the documents of people being allowed into the Kabul airport to escape the Taliban takeover of the country.

Read more about ISIS-K here.

No Americans killed in Moscow attack, U.S. official says

No Americans are believed to have been killed in yesterday’s attack on Moscow, according to a U.S. official.

The official also said the U.S. “has no reason to doubt the ISIS claim of responsibility” for the attack.

“It has a long-demonstrated history of targeting Russia and neighboring countries,” the official said. “There are no indications of Ukrainian involvement in the attack.”

Russian attempts to connect Ukraine to Moscow attack are ‘absolutely untenable,’ Ukrainian official says

Russian attempts to connect Ukraine to yesterday’s attack on Moscow are “absolutely untenable,” said Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of preparing a “window” to help the suspects escape. Kyiv has staunchly denied any role in the attack.

“Ukraine has not the slightest connection to this incident,” Podolyak wrote on X. “Ukraine has a full-scale war with #Russia and will solve the problem of Russia’s aggression (aggression, by the way, with a deliberate terrorist component) on the battlefield. The versions of Russian special services regarding Ukraine are absolutely untenable and absurd.”

Andriy Yusov, spokesperson for the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, shared similar sentiments in remarks he delivered during the National Telethon.

“You don’t have to be a security expert to understand this,” he said. “A full-scale war has been going on for over two years, border territories are full with enemy troops, special agents, representatives of intelligence services, and law enforcement. The borderline is mined, surveillance is conducted by all means, including aerial reconnaissance, from both sides. Regions like Belgorod and Kursk are currently active combat zones after the recent events.”

Death toll rises to 133 people killed

The death toll from yesterday’s attack in Moscow has now risen to 133 people, officials confirmed.

The Russian Investigative Committee said more bodies were found as emergency responders cleared the rubble from the fiery attack at the Crocus City Hall concert hall. The search operation at the venue is still underway.

A makeshift memorial in front of the Crocus City Hall in Moscow.
A makeshift memorial in front of the Crocus City Hall in Moscow on Saturday.Olga Maltseva / AFP – Getty Images

At least 107 people, including three children, are currently in Moscow hospitals with injuries, according to Tatyana Golikova, deputy chairman of the Russian government.

The latest death toll officially marks the attack as one of the worst terrorist acts in Russia’s modern history, surpassing the casualty number of the hostage crisis at Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater in 2002, where 130 people died. Over 330 people were killed in the Beslan school siege in 2004.

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson appears to hit out at the West after attack

Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for Russia’s foreign ministry, appeared to hit out at the U.S. and the West today over yesterday’s attack.

“The main point is that American authorities don’t forget how their information and political environment linked the terrorists who shot people in Crocus City Hall to the banned terrorist organization ISIS,” she said in a statement posted to Telegram.

U.S. officials confirmed to NBC News that they had been gathering intelligence for months that ISIS could launch a major attack in Russia.

“Now we know in which country these bloody bastards planned to hide from persecution — Ukraine,” Zakharova said. “The same country which for ten years has been turning via Western liberal regimes into a center of terrorism spread in Europe,” she said, referring to findings that the attackers planned to cross the Russian-Ukrainian border after the attack.

Mikhail Sheremet, an MP of the State Duma, Russia’s lower chamber of parliament, separately accused Ukraine of possible involvement in the attack without providing any evidence, in comments made to RIA Novosti. “One shouldn’t rule out a Ukrainian trace in organizing the terrorist attack,” Sheremet said.

Ukraine has staunchly denied any involvement in the attacks.

Putin says a ‘window’ was prepared on Ukrainian side for attackers’ escape

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin delivers his address in Moscow on Saturday.MikhailI Metzel / AFP – Getty Images

Putin condemned yesterday’s attack as a “barbaric terrorist act” in a public address today as he alleged that a “window” had been prepared “on the Ukrainian side” to help the attackers escape.

The Russian leader did not provide evidence for the claim, but cited preliminary data in Moscow’s ongoing investigation into the deadly attack.

Russian officials have said the attackers were planning to escape across the Russia-Ukraine border following the assault. Kyiv has denied having any role.

Putin said medics were still fighting to save the lives of those wounded in the attack, which he said has prompted officials in Moscow and several other regions to introduce new anti-terrorism measures.

He said tomorrow, March 24, would be a national day of mourning for the more than 115 people killed.

“I express my deep, sincere condolences to everyone who lost their loved ones,” he said. “The whole country, our entire nation, mourns with you.”

Russians lay flower tributes for victims of the attack

A man lays flowers on a memorial reading “Moscow,” in Sevastopol, Crimea, today in memory of victims of the attack on Crocus City Hall.STRINGER / AFP – Getty Images

People laid flowers in tribute to the victims of the attack at memorials that have popped up across Russia, as lines outside hospitals in Moscow grew with those seeking to donate blood.

‘We heard shots and smelled smoke’: Witnesses evacuated from city hall describe ordeal

Two people who were among many evacuated from Crocus City Hall following yesterday’s attack described the harrowing ordeal as they praised first responders for helping keep everyone calm.

Nadezhda Erastova and Andrei Telnov were in the city hall for a sports dance championship, according to Russian state news agency Tass.

“We were not in the concert hall. We were in another part of the building, but we heard shots and smelled smoke,” Telnov told the agency. “People, of course, were worried and scared. I myself was not in the best emotional state. Yesterday was one of the hardest days of my life, one might say.”

Erastova separately told Tass that “everyone was a hero in this situation.”

“They did not panic and were able to get out,” she said, praising police for escorting people to public transport safely.

Death toll rises to 115 people killed

The death toll from yesterday’s attack has now risen to 115 people, officials confirmed.

The Russian Investigative Committee said more bodies were found as emergency responders cleared the rubble from the fiery attack at the Crocus City Hall concert hall.

A search operation at the venue is still underway, it said.

Photos reveal extent of the destruction at burned-out concert hall

Photos released by Russian authorities reveal the extent of the destruction at Crocus City Hall following last night’s attack.

Firefighters can be seen making their way through the burned-out concert hall, much of it in ruins in the photos taken by the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations.

Supplied by the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations

The attack was carried out with automatic weapons, but also with “flammable liquid,” which was used to set the concert hall ablaze, the Russian Investigative Committee said.

Firefighters evacuated people from the basement and roof of the building, but more than 100 people were killed in the attack.

Attackers planned to cross Russian-Ukrainian border, state media reports

Suspects in yesterday’s attack intended to cross the Russian-Ukrainian border following the assault and had contacts on the Ukrainian side, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

NBC News was not immediately able to independently verify the reporting. It is not clear how the attackers planned to cross the border, an endeavor that would have been complicated by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, without providing any proof. Kyiv has explicitly denied any role in the assault.

“Ukraine certainly has nothing to do with the shooting/explosions in the Crocus City Hall,” Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said in a statement on X yesterday, adding: “It makes no sense whatsoever.”

Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military intelligence directorate, separately told the BBC the border area with Ukraine is “full of special services and military.”

“Also the latest events in Belgorod region and Kursk — where there is military activity — mean this is a front line,” Yusov noted, adding: “To suggest the suspects were heading to Ukraine would suggest they were stupid or suicidal.”

At least 115 people hospitalized, including 5 children, officials say

At least 115 people were hospitalized in connection with yesterday’s attack, including five children, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said, according to Tass.

At least 60 people are in severe condition, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said separately, according to the Russian state news agency. She said almost all necessary surgeries had been performed.

11 people reportedly detained in connection with attack 

At least 11 people have been detained in connection with yesterday’s attack, including four people directly involved, the Kremlin said.

Alexander Bortnikov, director of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) informed Putin of the detentions, it said.

Bortnikov also updated the Russian president on the FSB’s efforts to identify the accomplices of those who carried out the attack.

Death toll rises to 93, expected to increase

Aurora AlmendralAurora Almendral is a London-based editor with NBC News Digital.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said this morning that the number of people confirmed dead in last night’s attack has risen to 93, and said “the death toll will rise further.”

According to preliminary data, the causes of death were gunshot wounds and “poisoning by combustion products,” the Investigative Committee said.

Law enforcement officers carry a victim of the attack on the Crocus City Hall.OLGA MALTSEVA / AFP – Getty Images

Three children among those killed, state media reports

Three children were among the more than 60 people killed in yesterday’s attack at Crocus City Hall, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing the Russian Ministry of Health.

Officials have warned that the death toll connected to the deadly incident may increase as the investigation continues.

Moscow bloodshed comes two decades after some of worst attacks in Russia

The attack in Moscow is the latest in a series of deadly terror attacks in the country since the 2000s.

In 2004, militants from Chechnya and elsewhere took hostages at a school in Beslan in southern Russia.

The militants demanded a withdrawal from Chechnya. Hostages were kept in a gymnasium, and 334 died — half of them children — when gunfire and explosions erupted when it was stormed. Hostages’ families were critical of the rescue operation. Russianprosecutors later cleared authorities.

Two years prior, in 2002, Chechen separatists attacked the Dubrovka Theater in Moscow and took more than 700 people hostage. Russian forces used gas, and 129 hostages died. The attackers were killed.

More recently, in 2017, a suicide bomber from Kyrgyzstan killed 15 people as well as himself in an attack on a St. Petersburg subway. In 2013, two bombers killed a combined 34 people in attacks on a railway station and a trolleybus in Volgograd.

The group Islamic State, also known as ISIS, claimed responsibility for the attacks Friday at the Crocus City Hall venue.

Putin wishes victims well, deputy prime minister say

President Vladimir Putin is thinking of those injured in today’s attack and thanked doctors, a Russian government official said, according to state media.

State media Tass reported that “Putin wished all those injured in the emergency at Crocus City Hall to recover and conveyed his gratitude to the doctors, Golikova said,” referring to Tatiana Golikova, deputy prime minister for social policy, labor, health and pension provision.

U.S. warned Russia about planned terrorist attack in Moscow, NSC says

The United States shared information about a potential terrorist attack in Moscow with Russia’s government earlier this month, a spokesperson for the National Security Council said.

The U.S. Embassy in Russia on March 7 warned U.S. citizens to avoid crowds and said it was monitoring reports that extremists might attack large gatherings in Moscow.

“Earlier this month, the U.S. Government had information about a planned terrorist attack in Moscow — potentially targeting large gatherings, to include concerts — which prompted the State Department to issue a public advisory to Americans in Russia,” NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson said.

“The U.S. Government also shared this information with Russian authorities in accordance with its longstanding ‘duty to warn’ policy,” Watson said.

Putin recently dismissed ‘provocative’ warning about potential attacks

In remarks that aired three days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the West of “provocative statements” about potential terror attacks in Russia, and dismissed them.

Putin Russian Election Moscow
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at his campaign headquarters in Moscow on March 18.Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP – Getty Images

“I’ll remind you of recent, let’s say directly, provocative statements of certain official Western structures about potential terror attacks in Russia,” Putin said.

“All of this looks like obvious blackmail and an attempt to intimidate, destabilize our country,” he said before the state security agency FSB.

Putin in those remarks did not specify a country or warning. The U.S. Embassy in Russia on March 7 warned U.S. citizens to avoid crowds.

“The Embassy is monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts, and U.S. citizens should be advised to avoid large gatherings over the next 48 hours,” the U.S. Embassy warned.

Some Moscow concertgoers filmed events as they unfolded Friday night, when gunmen opened fire inside a theater and people ran to take cover in fear for their lives.


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