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UN alters response to Moscow terrorist attack after protest

Russia’s Foreign Ministry took issue with the use of the word “saddened” by the secretary general’s spokesperson

The United Nations has altered its statement on Friday’s concert venue terrorist attack in Moscow after the Russian Foreign Ministry questioned the wording of the original message.

In a post on Telegram early on Saturday, ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova thanked the office of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the “timely correction and formulation of a clear position.”

In a revised version of the statement, Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for the UN chief, wrote that Guterres “condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack at a concert hall outside Moscow.”

The official also extended “deep condolences to the bereaved families and the people and the Government of the Russian Federation.”

On Friday, hours after tragedy struck at Crocus City Hall outside Moscow, Zakharova criticized the choice of words in the original statement released by the UN secretary-general’s press office – which said that the international body was “saddened” by the events.
“SADDENED? BY THE SHOOTING? Is that a brawl at a shooting range or something?” the diplomat asked in her post on Telegram.

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She cited disturbing eyewitness footage of the “horrific, bloody terrorist attack that does not cause ‘sadness,’ but rather terror, shock, consternation, unconditional condemnation, righteous anger and compassion toward the victims.”

Since the attack, condolences have been pouring in from countries that maintain friendly relations with Russia, and also from those that do not.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan phoned his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to express Ankara’s “unconditional condemnation of the bloody terrorist attack.”

Qatar issued a statement saying the “Emirate resolutely rejects methods of violence and terrorism, whatever the motive.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his shock and offered condolences to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

“China opposes terrorism in all its forms, strongly condemns terrorist attacks, and firmly supports the efforts of the Russian government to ensure national security and stability,” the message reads, as quoted by Russia’s embassy in Beijing.

In the US, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby also extended condolences to Moscow on Friday over the “terrible shooting attack.”

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday evening, Peter Stano, the European Union’s spokesperson on foreign affairs, wrote that the bloc was “shocked and appalled by the reports of a terrorist attack in the Crocus City Hall in Moscow.”

“The EU condemns any attacks against civilians. Our thoughts are with all those Russian citizens affected,” the official added.

The terrorist atrocity, which claimed the lives of at least 133 people and left many more injured, took place on Friday evening at Crocus City Hall in Krasnogorsk, on the western outskirts of the capital. The concert venue, with an estimated capacity of 7,500, was nearly full when the terrorists launched their shooting spree.

After gunning down dozens of fleeing concertgoers, the assailants set fire to rows of chairs inside the auditorium. The flames quickly spread through much of the building, including its roof, giving off poisonous smoke.

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