While Russian authorities claim that the driver was drunk and lost control of the vehicle, video footage from the incident tells a different story.
Russian Police | Illustration Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
According to Russia’s state news agency TASS, a taxi driver plowed into a crowd of pedestrians near the Red Square earlier today (Saturday), injuring eight people. One of the victims is in critical condition.
Though further details about the driver have not yet been released, Russian authorities have confirmed that he holds a driver’s license issued in Kyrgyzstan.
Reports from the incident are still unclear as to whether the attack was deliberate or accidental. According to Russian police, the driver, now in custody, was intoxicated and therefore lost control of the vehicle.
However, video footage that was released shortly after the attack clearly shows the driver purposefully veering his car into the crowd of pedestrians, only stopping when he hit a street sign. He then fled from the scene, dodging numerous attempts by bystanders to stop him.
Graphic Video: Driver rams into a crowd of World Cup fans in Moscow, Russia. At least eight people were injured. Police claim that the incident was likely accidental. pic.twitter.com/hMGnaqN1m9
— PM Breaking News (@PMBreakingNews) June 16, 2018
It would certainly be in Russia’s best interest to portray the incident as an accident; just days before the attack, Russia’s World Cup security chief Alexei Lavrishchev promised a BBC reporter that “the security measures we are taking are unprecedented.” According to Russia’s Federal Security Service, their intelligence located and arrested numerous terror cells in host cities ahead of the World Cup.
On Friday, the US State Department warned Americans against traveling to Russia due to possible terror threats. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Russia,” the statement said. “Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities.”
According to witnesses, some of the wounded were wearing the Mexico’s national soccer team’s colors. Thousands of soccer fans have gathered in Moscow to watch the FIFA World Cup, and Mexico will be playing against Germany on Sunday at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium.