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2 terror attack suspects plead guilty in Moscow court, as Putin questions motives

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MOSCOW and LONDON — Two suspects have pleaded guilty after Friday’s terror attack at a Moscow concert venue that killed at least 137, as Russian President Vladimir Putin raised questions about the alleged attackers’ motives.

Each of the four suspects was arrested and charged with committing a group terrorist attack resulting in the death of others, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. All appeared in court with visible injuries.

Russian investigators said at least three children were among the scores killed in the attack at Moscow’s Crocus City Hall.

Another 182 people were injured and at least 97 were being treated in hospitals as of Monday morning, the Russian Investigative Committee said. Many victims have yet to be identified.

ISIS-K, a group associated with the Islamic State group, has claimed responsibility for the attack. The Islamic State group-linked news agency Amaq released footage that it claimed was body camera video.

Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, 32, and Saidakrami Rachabalizoda, 30, pleaded guilty, according to the press service of the Moscow courts. That service identified the other two suspects as Shamsidin Fariduni, 25, and Mukhammadsobir Faizov, 19. All four men are citizens of Tajikistan, according to Russian officials.

Putin claimed that following the terrorist attack the four suspects headed towards the Ukrainian border, a claim for which neither Putin nor the Kremlin provided evidence.

Videos aired on Russian state TV appeared to show people being detained by officers with the Federal Security Service, or FSB, close to the highway that leads from Moscow to Russia’s border with Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected the claim that his country had been involved in the attack.

“What happened in Moscow yesterday is obvious, and Putin and other scums are trying to shift the blame to someone else,” he said on Saturday.

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, on Monday said the Russian government had had “no contacts” with Western leaders following the terror attack.

“There are no contacts with the West right now,” Peskov said, according to TASS, a state-run news service.

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