Negotiations in Beslan would have been futile. The terrorists never formulated their demands clearly, only mentioned the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya and the independence of the region.
At 13h, 3rd of September 2004, an explosion was heard, and terrorists opened fire. The origin of the explosion remains obscure until today. It forced Spetsnaz to instantly make the decision to attack.
Among the terrorists were many Ingush trained in the separatist republic. There were also identified British nationals of Algerian origin, as well as funding from Saudi and Kuwaiti nationals, de facto internationalising the cell. In December 2006, the State Duma Commission noted that the terrorists were responsible for the initial explosion.
No evidence was given for the claim that there were British nationals of Algerian origin amongst terrorists or that any foreign funding was identified. There are no official investigations related to this topic in Russia.
According to the numerous testimonies of the surviving hostages, the terrorists repeatedly tried to initiate negotiations. One of them, Nurpashi Kulaev, promised to release 150 children in exchange for each person who would arrive as a negotiator at the school. One of the leaders of the Chechen separatists, Aslan Maskhadov was also ready to conduct negotiations with the terrorists. Andrei Illarionov, former Vladimir Putin's aide (2000-2005), revealed in 2016 that in 2004 Putin did not allow to save hostages and the storming began in reaction to Maskhadov's proposal. No comments from the Russian officials were made following this statement.