No Comment from Putin on Rash of ‘Terror Attacks’

( – According to Kremlin sources on June 23rd, Vladimir Putin has not yet commented on the recent terror attacks in the occupied Crimean city of Sevastopol and southern Russia. The Russian Investigative Committee has released footage of their investigation into these incidents in Dagestan, where gunmen attacked an Orthodox church and a synagogue in Derbent, killing a Russian Orthodox priest. Further north in Makhachkala, armed assailants targeted a traffic police post and another church.

When asked about Putin’s response to these attacks and Russian claims about casualties from Ukrainian missiles in Sevastopol, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to specify Putin’s intentions. Moscow has attributed the attacks to American-supplied missiles, deflecting blame away from internal concerns.

In Dagestan, Russian authorities reported casualties among police officers and civilians, alongside fatalities among the attackers, with no immediate claims of responsibility. These attacks on religious sites have reignited fears of a resurgence in militant Islamist threats, reminiscent of the Crocus concert hall attack in Moscow earlier this year, attributed to the Islamic State’s Khorasan province.

Experts from the Institute for the Study of War suggest Wilayat Kavkaz, the Islamic State’s branch in the Northern Caucasus, likely orchestrated June 23rd’s violence. Despite this, Russian officials have avoided directly implicating known Islamist groups, instead emphasizing external threats from Ukraine and the West.

Critics argue this narrative serves to divert attention from domestic security shortcomings, presenting the conflict in Ukraine as a pivotal struggle. The timing of these attacks underscores broader vulnerabilities in Russia’s security apparatus, with intelligence failures exacerbating concerns.

Security analyst Harold Chambers noted the uncertain nature of Wilayat Kavkaz’s involvement and highlighted increasing but sporadic militant activities across the North Caucasus. He cautioned against overstating the insurgency’s capabilities, noting swift responses from security forces in most cases.

As investigations continue into the motives and affiliations behind these attacks, Russia faces ongoing challenges in balancing internal security with geopolitical rhetoric. The implications extend beyond immediate casualties, impacting public confidence and international perceptions of stability in the region.

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