US Ambassador To Russia Issues Rare Statement On Information Shared Before Terrorist Attack


(RFE/RL) — The U.S. ambassador to Russia on March 29 issued an unusual diplomatic statement refuting Russian government claims about information that the United States shared with Russia ahead of the terrorist attack last week on a concert hall outside Moscow that killed more than 140 people. 

Ambassador Lynne Tracy said several Russian officials had “misrepresented and publicly dismissed” the usefulness of information passed on to Russian security services earlier this month related to threats from the Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the attack soon after it was over.

In the statement, Tracy reiterated that the information shared with Russian authorities was in writing and was specific, timely, and credible.

She said United States sent the information out of a “longstanding ‘duty to warn’ policy” that enables the sharing of information when there is a threat to innocent civilians. This is a practice that the United States follows not just with allies but also “with countries with whom we may have deep disagreements, including Russia,” she said.

The United States will continue to share such information and will also “continue to respond” to Russian government requests for assistance related to the investigation of the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack, she added.

The State Department later on March 29 emphasized that Washington had “shared clear and timely information with Russian authorities to help prevent the attack and save innocent lives.” Spokesman Matthew Miller said Russia’s attempts to shift the blame to others are “absurd.”

Aleksandr Bortnikov, head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), on March 26 reiterated President Vladimir Putin’s claim that not only Ukraine but the West had a role in the deadly attack. 

Without offering any evidence, Bortnikov alleged that Western spy agencies also could have been involved in the attack even as he acknowledged receiving the information from the United States early in March about a potential terrorist attack.

Islamic State has said several times that it was responsible for the attack, and the United States and other Western governments have said it was “abundantly clear” that Islamic State was solely responsible.

Tracy said the attack was “cruel and barbaric” and has resulted in a difficult and painful time for Russia. 

“Our hearts go out to those who are grieving from this senseless tragedy,” she said, adding that the United States “categorically condemns terrorism in all its forms.”


RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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