Trump: I would have warned Putin outright about terror attack

Washington provided information about a potential assault, but Moscow claims it was too general

Former US President Donald Trump has said that if he was president, he would have personally alerted Russian President Vladimir Putin about a potential terrorist attack on Moscow’s Crocus City Hall.

Trump made the remarks in an interview with US radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday. The journalist suggested that Washington “knew that the Moscow attack last week was going to happen,” and expressed doubt that US President Joe Biden had called Putin to inform him. Hewitt asked the former president whether he would have personally warned the Russian leader about the terrorist plot.

“I would have called him. I would have let him know,” Trump said.

On March 22, four gunmen stormed the Crocus City Hall concert venue just outside Moscow, going on a shooting spree and setting fire to the building. At least 144 people, including six children, were killed in the massacre and over 500 were injured. The act of terrorism was the deadliest on Russian soil since the early 2000s.

Russian law enforcement captured the four gunmen believed to have been responsible for the massacre, as well as several other individuals who are suspected of aiding the terrorists in their plot.

Moscow maintains that the terrorists had a “window” prepared for them to cross the border into Ukraine. While Islamic State’s Afghanistan-based wing (ISIS-K) claimed responsibility for the attack, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Aleksandr Bortnikov, claimed in March that the US, UK, and Ukraine may have been involved – which all three have denied. Washington and Brussels have insisted that Kiev had nothing to do with the massacre.

In the aftermath of the Crocus City Hall massacre, the White House said the US had shared information with Moscow about a potential terrorist attack. The head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, has confirmed this, but added that “the information was too general and did not allow us to fully identify those who participated in this terrible crime.”

Earlier this week, the Washington Post claimed, citing an unnamed US official, that Washington had alerted Russia about the imminent terrorist attack two weeks before the tragedy. According to the outlet, Moscow had received a warning with a “high degree of specificity” that the popular venue could be targeted by terrorists.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova rejected the outlet’s claim on Wednesday, calling it completely false.