Ukrainians Shun Kremlin Suggestions Their Country Was Behind Moscow Attack

Ukrainians have reacted with a mixture of concern and mockery to the narrative pushed by the Kremlin and Russian state media that Ukraine was behind the terrorist attack Friday on a Moscow concert hall, a claim made despite the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility.

“This is a typical provocation,” Iryna Blakyta, 24, a resident of Kyiv, said on Monday. “It’s typical for Russia.” She said President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia would use the attack to create a rally-around-the flag effect directed against Ukraine, after more than two years of war have worn down the Russian population. “He needs to mobilize people,” Ms. Blakyta said, “he needs to show who the enemy is.”

That worry was palpable Monday morning in Kyiv, which was targeted by two ballistic missiles in broad daylight, the third air assault against the Ukrainian capital in five days. A university building in a central part of the city was reduced to rubble in the attack, and officials said at least 10 people were injured.

Ukrainian officials said Mr. Putin’s hints that Ukraine was involved in the attack were in line with the Kremlin’s longstanding policy of lying to sow confusion about the motives behind criminal acts, cover up the failings of its security services and justify a violent response.

Flowers decorated a makeshift memorial on Sunday at the Crocus City Hall in honor of victims of the terrorist attack in Moscow.Credit…Nanna Heitmann for The New York Times

“Putin is a pathological liar,” Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, wrote on X on Sunday, listing a series of bombings, murders and aggressive actions by Russia that he said were all cloaked in lies, including Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea in 2014 and the downing of an airliner over Ukraine by Kremlin-backed fighters the same year.

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