MOSCOW (NEWSnet/AP) — Russia officials persisted Tuesday in saying Ukraine and Western nations had a role in the March 22 attack at Crocus City Hall near Moscow.

The claim comes despite vehement denial of involvement by Kyiv and a claim of responsibility by an affiliate of Islamic State group. Alexander Bortnikov, head of Federal Security Service, or FSB, followed similar allegations by President Vladimir Putin, who linked the attack to Ukraine even as he acknowledged the suspects are “radical Islamists.”

The IS affiliate claimed the group conducted the attack, and U.S. intelligence said it has information confirming the organization's responsibility. 

Putin insisted on alleged Ukrainian involvement, something that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected, accusing the Kremlin leader of trying to ignite fervor as his forces fight in Ukraine.

He repeated Putin’s claim that the four gunmen were trying to escape to Ukraine when they were arrested.

Health officials said about 90 survivors injured in the attack remain hospitalized, with 22 of them in grave condition.

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