Russia accuses Ukrainian intelligence of orchestrating deadly Moscow mall bombing

Speaking to reporters, FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov claimed Ukrainian operatives had “a direct connection” to the bombing last month at the Crocus City shopping mall in Moscow that left 17 dead.

In an explosive allegation, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has directly accused Ukrainian military intelligence of coordinating a recent deadly terrorist attack on Russian soil.

Speaking to reporters, FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov claimed Ukrainian operatives had “a direct connection” to the bombing last month at the Crocus City shopping mall in Moscow that left 17 dead. He alleged the attack’s “preparation, financing, and withdrawal of terrorists” was handled via the Internet by members of the Islamic State’s Khorasan Province branch in Afghanistan at the behest of Ukrainian intelligence.

The accusation marks a significant escalation in rhetoric from Moscow, which has repeatedly accused Kyiv of sponsoring “terrorism” during the ongoing conflict but had not explicitly tied it to such a high-profile attack until now. It comes amid heightened tensions after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin over the unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children.

Ukrainian officials vehemently denied any involvement, calling the FSB’s claims “baseless propaganda” aimed at deflecting from Russian military setbacks.

More than 20 suspects have reportedly been arrested by FSB counterterrorism units in connection with the Crocus City bombing. Among them are alleged members of a sleeper cell said to have received training at IS camps in Afghanistan before infiltrating Russia to carry out the attack.

If substantiated, the Ukrainian link could potentially rupture the negotiating process to extend the looming United Nations-brokered grain export deal, which has helped alleviate a global food crisis exacerbated by the war.

For now, the explosive allegations remain unproven but have already raised the spectre of a new cycle of escalating retribution between the bitter rivals – with potentially catastrophic consequences. Independent verification of the FSB’s claims will likely prove critical in determining the wider geopolitical fallout.