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Ritter on Ukrainian Involvement in the Crocus Massacre

March 28—Scott Ritter’s March 27 newsletter provided some very well-reasoned explanations behind the Russian investigation of the March 22 Crocus City Hall massacre, as indicated by FSB head Alexander Bortnikov. First, “One of these phones was recovered at the crime scene, and the data contained on this phone was used by Russian security officials to track the terrorists as they drove out of Moscow, toward Ukraine. Telephone numbers contained on the recovered phone allowed the Russians to zero in on the remaining phones, and monitor phone calls made by the terrorists in real time—including numerous calls to persons inside Ukraine who were working to create a gap in the Russian-Ukrainian border that the terrorists could escape through.”

Further, the cell phones, including live conversations monitored, led to rapid arrests of support networks (7 in Moscow, 40 in Türkiye), but also led to a higher level. Ritter stated: “Russia has gathered enough information to issue a warrant for the head of the Ukrainian security service, Vasyl Malyuk, on charges of public incitement of terrorism.”

Separately, Ritter cited a photograph posted of the four attackers, purporting to certify the four as dedicated Muslim radicals. They are depicted as reciting, with a raised index finger, the Shahada (“I bear witness that there is no deity but God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God”), which, for jihadists, “has become de rigueur—Osama bin Laden delivered it in this fashion, as did Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder of the Islamic State.” However, Ritter explained, the four made the blunder of raising not their right, but their left index finger, a sacrilege before God. He cited this as pretty strong evidence that these are non-Muslims pretending to be Islamic militants.

Ritter noted that, while the Russian investigators are being cautious with having conclusions get ahead of the evidence, “there is a plethora of data which allows one to populate the puzzle with enough pieces to begin to see a discernable shape take form.”

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