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Terrorist attack at concert hall outside Moscow Latest updates

What happened: Just before the start of a performance at the Crocus City Hall concert hall outside Moscow, as many as five armed men in camouflage entered the building and opened fire on the crowd. A blaze destroyed the building’s top floor, where numerous people sought shelter.

The death toll: At least 60 people are confirmed dead, and roughly 100 survivors have been hospitalized.

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This concludes our live coverage of the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack. In the days and weeks ahead, Meduza will report on further developments in this story. Our newsroom sends its condolences to this tragedy’s many victims and their families.

Latest updates as of 5:00 a.m. March 23 Moscow time (2:00 a.m. March 23 London, 10:00 p.m. March 22, New York)

  • Russia’s Investigative Committee has officially reported that “over 60 people” have been killed. They warned that the number of victims could increase.
  • Health minister Mikhail Murashko reported that 115 people had been hospitalized. The Ministry of Emergency Situations reports that 99 injured people are in the hospital.
  • President of Russian Vladimir Putin conveyed get-well wishes to victims via Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova. He did not address the nation himself.
  • Putin heard reports from various law enforcement and security agencies on official measures being taken, according to the Kremlin.
  • The television network NTV aired fake footage of Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov allegedly confirming Ukraine’s participation in the incident.
  • The New York Times and CBS sources report that the U.S. considers ISIS-K responsible for the attack.

Putin passes along his get-well wishes

Vladimir Putin wishes a speedy recovery to everyone wounded at Crocus City Hall and expresses his gratitude to the doctors treating the victims, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova told the state media. The Russian president has not yet appeared in public to comment on the terrorist attack, which began more than seven hours ago at the time of this writing.

In the statement from Golikova, Putin describes Friday’s attack as an “emergency situation,” though federal investigators have designated the incident as a terrorist attack.

Moscow video billboards display mourning candle

Officials release footage of recovered weapons and ammo

Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee has shared a video showing the forensic examination of several weapons and shell casings recovered from the attack at Crocus City Hall. The footage is 83 seconds long and contains no dialogue or narration. Officials also examine several bodies (censored in this footage).

Official death toll rises to more than 60

Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee has confirmed the deaths of more than 60 people. The agency says the death toll could rise higher.

Putin meets with national security senior officials

According to a statement from the Kremlin, the Russian president met with FSB director Alexander Bortnikov, Internal Affairs Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Federal Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin, and National Guard chief Viktor Zolotov. The senior security officials reported to Putin on Friday’s terrorist attack outside Moscow.

Putin also spoke to Federal Emergency Management Agency head Alexander Kurenkov about rescue operations at the Crocus City Hall building and to Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, and Moscow regional Governor Andrey Vorobyov about ongoing relief efforts for victims and survivors.

Police search bulletin reportedly describes gunmen as tall Slavs who possibly wore fake beards, fueling speculation about Russian Volunteer Corps involvement

Several sources who spoke to the newspaper Kommersant say they still suspect Friday’s terrorist attack in Moscow is the work of the Russian Volunteer Corps, a far-right paramilitary unit based in Ukraine. The sources told the paper that police officers tonight started receiving search bulletins stating that the terrorists are “young men, Slavs, above average height, and possibly used fake beards and mustaches.” The same sources told Kommersant that FSB agents reportedly arrested a group of men who wanted to join the Russian Volunteer Corps not long before Friday’s attack.

Meanwhile, spokespeople for the Russian Volunteer Corps have denied any involvement in the killings.

Russian TV airs fake video in which Ukrainian security official claims responsibility for Moscow terrorist attack

In a special news broadcast on the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack, the Russian television network NTV aired a fake video in which Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov supposedly confirms Kyiv’s involvement in Friday’s terrorist attack. The video in question uses edited footage from several days ago, Meduza has concluded.

Alleged getaway car caught speeding a day ago on local traffic cam

The news outlet Agentstvo reports that the terrorists’ alleged getaway car was caught by a nearby highway traffic camera one day ago, on March 21, exceeding the speed limit. Leaked auto records show that the vehicle in this photo and others reported today was sold in early January 2024. The new owner changed the license plate and apparently painted the car white (it was previously black).

Unofficial death toll rises to 70

The Telegram Shot reports that the number of people killed at Crocus City Hall has jumped to 70 after several more bodies were discovered in bathrooms, offices, and other rooms hiding from the shooters. The victims reportedly suffocated as the building burned; their bodies showed no gunshot wounds. The Telegram channel Mash also reports that roughly 70 people have been found killed, with more bodies still being discovered.

At the time of this writing, Russia’s Federal Security Service has confirmed the deaths of 40 people.

The Telegram channel 112 reports that a doctor among the first responders found a bomb planted on one of the bodies being moved for examination and identification. The emergency medical technician told 112 that the explosive was apparently disguised as a medical heart monitor. Security forces isolated the body and removed the bomb. The outlet reports that officials don’t rule out that this body was one of the attackers.

Update: Federal investigators have denied reports that a bomb was found strapped to any of the bodies at Crocus City Hall.

Latest updates as of 2:30 a.m. Moscow time (11:30 p.m. London, 7:30 p.m. New York)

  • A branch of ISIS has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack. CNN reports that the U.S. is in possession of intelligence confirming these claims.
  • Official information on the number of people killed in the attack has not been updated since it was published four hours ago. At that time, the FSB reported 40 deaths. The Telegram channel Baza wrote that the death toll has risen to 62 people.
  • The Moscow Region Health Ministry published a list of 145 victims of the attack. Nine people are in critical condition.
  • The fire at Crocus City Hall has reportedly been contained.
  • Russian National Guard officers inspected part of the first and second floors of the building, as well as the underground parking lot, and found no explosives. They were forced to leave the building due to heavy smoke.
  • Russian state news reported that the perpetrators of the attack fled the scene in a white Renault.
  • Moscow’s city government has called on residents of the city and the surrounding region to donate blood to support victims.
  • More than 20 countries around the world, including the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany have condemned the attack.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has still not publicly commented on the attack.

The news outlet RBC shares a photograph by Mikhail Grebenshchikov showing the catastrophic damage to the Crocus City Hall building.

Islamic State branch claims responsibility for attack

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall in Russia’s Moscow region. CNN reports that the U.S. is in possession of intelligence confirming these claims.

According to The New York Times, the U.S. collected intelligence in March that Islamic State-Khorasan, known as ISIS-K, the branch of the group based in Afghanistan, “had been planning an attack on Moscow.” ISIS members have been active in Russia, one U.S. official told the newspaper. “ISIS-K has been fixated on Russia for the past two years” and “accuses the Kremlin of having Muslim blood in its hands, referencing Moscow’s interventions in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Syria,” counterterrorism analyst Colin P. Clarke told the paper.

Putin still silent

Contrary to earlier media reports, Vladimir Putin still has no plan to make a special national address to comment on today’s attack, a source told the newspaper Vedomosti.

Unofficial death toll rises to 62

The Telegram channel Baza reports that the death toll has risen to 62 people, noting that rescue workers have yet to search all areas of the building and this number could go higher.

Fire reportedly contained

Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry says the fire at Crocus City Hall has been localized to an area of 150,695 square feet.

Heath Ministry confirms 145 victims

The Moscow Region Health Ministry published a list of 145 victims of the attack.

Nine of those hospitalized are in critical condition reports TASS, citing information from the ministry.

Russian state news posts photo of getaway car

Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reports that the perpetrators of the attack on Crocus City Hall left the scene in a white Renault. The agency has posted a photo of the vehicle, as have independent news outlets.

Moscow’s city government has called on residents of the city and the surrounding region to donate blood to support victims of the attack at Crocus City Hall.

No additional explosives found in parking lot

The Russian National Guard completed an inspection of the parking lots around Crocus City Hall and found no explosives, said Russian State Duma Deputy Alexander Khinshtein.

Who owns Crocus City Hall?

Crocus City Hall is one of the main assets of Crocus Group, owned by businessman and construction magnate Aras Agalarov. Agalarov and his son Emin were reportedly at the venue conducting an emergency meeting with security and management following the attack. Crocus Group is one of Russia’s largest construction companies and has reportedly won government contracts to build such major projects as World Cup stadiums and sections of Moscow’s Central Ring Road.

Rising casualties

According to Baza, the number of victims in the attack has risen to 140 people, 77 of whom are hospitalized.

Earlier, the FSB said that about 40 people were killed and more than 100 were injured.

Eva Egupova, a costume designer, shared how the performers were evacuated

I ran out in the first wave of people. When I heard the gunshots, I was backstage, helping the dancers. We just heard the gunshots and noise. We ran out through the Vegas Cafe; the security immediately opened that entrance. We moved with the crowd in a stream, no one yelled or got in each other’s way. The guards opened the entrance right away, and we quickly found ourselves on the street. We ran to the shopping center, and there people were also panicking and screaming. We ran across the bridge; we were with the musicians from the orchestra. When we were near the church [next to the shopping center], we saw a helicopter and saw Crocus on fire... We could already hear the sirens as we were running out.

Medvedev, Ukraine, Russian Volunteer Corps comment

Dmitry Medvedev: “Terrorists understand only reciprocal terror. No trials or investigations will help if force is not answered with force, and deaths with total punishment of terrorists and repression of their families. That’s our worldly experience. If it can be established that these terrorists were from the Kyiv regime, it’s impossible to deal with them and those who have been inspired by their ideology any other way. They must all be located and ruthlessly destroyed as terrorists. Including official representatives of the state that committed such an atrocity.”

Office of the President of Ukraine: “Let’s get it on the record. Ukraine had absolutely nothing to do with these events.”

The Russian Volunteer Corps, which fights for Ukraine: “It definitely wasn’t us, of course.”

First moment of concert hall gunfire caught on camera

The Telegram channel Varlamov News has published a video recorded inside the Crocus City Hall concert hall showing the first moments of evacuation. The video captures the second when people in the crowd realized their lives were at stake.

Caution: the following footage contains disturbing sounds and images.
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