Monday Briefing

Sunday was declared a national day of mourning in Russia, and flags were lowered to half-staff at buildings across the country.Credit…Nanna Heitmann for The New York Times

What the terrorist attack means for Russia

Investigators brought charges yesterday against four men who they said killed at least 137 people at a concert hall near Moscow on Friday.

The four suspects, who face a possible life sentence for the worst terrorist attack in Russia in 20 years, were identified as Dalerjon Mirzoyev, Saidakrami Rachabalizoda, Shamsidin Fariduni and Muhammadsobir Fayzov.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, and U.S. officials said it appeared to be the work of ISIS-K, the branch of the terrorist group that is active in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. Mounting evidence supports that claim.

But Russian commentators and state media are mostly ignoring ISIS and accusing Ukraine of being linked to the attack. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has also hinted at that notion, which Kyiv has strongly denied.

I spoke with my colleague Valerie Hopkins, who covers Russia, about the reaction to the attack and what it means for Russia’s security.

Q:How has Putin responded to the attack so far, and how has he tried to tie it to Ukraine?

Valerie:It took 19 hours for him to address the nation, and when he did, he said that suspects had been apprehended and that they had been driving toward Ukraine, where he said the Ukrainians had prepared a window for them to enter the country. He did not mention ISIS.

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