UPDATE: At least 40 dead in Moscow terror attack

UPDATE: At least 40 dead in Moscow terror attack
/ bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews March 22, 2024

At least 40 people are dead in Moscow and another 100 injured after a shooting and at least one explosion at Crocus City Music Hall in Moscow. 

The concert hall, located in Krasnogorsk in the Moscow Region, is one of the capital’s largest music venues, having hosted the likes of Eric Clapton and Elton John over the years. The hall was hosting a concert for the St. Petersburg band Picnic, and had sold out its capacity of more than 6,000. The band reportedly did not suffer any injuries.

Videos posted online show gunmen, dressed in combat fatigues, unleashing a barrage of gunfire within the concert hall. An explosion was then heard, setting the building on fire. The videos show panicked civilians fleeing for safety as the attackers, armed with automatic weapons, indiscriminately fired upon the crowd. 

Special forces have entered the building, with the location of the assailants still unknown.

According to Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), at least 40 people have died, making it the worst terror attack in Russia in years.

Earlier this month, the US warned citizens not to join public gatherings in Russia, noting that it had received reports of “imminent plans to target large gatherings.”

Speaking shortly after the incident, Moscow region Governor Andrei Vorobyov wrote on social media that he had arrived at the scene. He revealed that more than 70 ambulances had been deployed.

Writing on Telegram,  the Moscow region's branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry revealed that around 100 people had been evacuated from the basement by firefighters.

"Work is ongoing to save people from the roof of the building with lifting equipment," the Ministry also noted.

According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is receiving regular updates about the incident. 

"In the first minutes of the incident at the Crocus City Hall, the president was informed about the start of the shooting. The president is constantly supplied by all relevant services with information about what is happening and the measures being taken. The president has already given all the necessary instructions," he said.

Internationally, the White House has sent its condolences to the victims of the shooting, with National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby calling the images "horrible." 

"There's some moms, and dads, and brothers, and sisters, and sons, and daughters that haven't gotten the news yet. And this is going to be a tough day. So our thoughts are with them," he said. 

In Kyiv, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has denied that Ukraine was involved, following some online accusations.

"Let's be straight about this: Ukraine had absolutely nothing to do with these events," Podolyak said in a video message posted on Telegram. "We have a full-scale, all-out war with the Russian regular army and with the Russian Federation as a country. And regardless of everything, everything will be decided on the battlefield."