Sochi Lockdown Raises Fear of an Attack Elsewhere
Published: February 4, 2014 (Issue # 1795)
Amid unprecedented security measures by the authorities to secure Sochi for the Winter Olympics, observers have expressed concerns that other cities in Russia have been left unprotected, with law enforcement personnel and technical equipment needed to prevent terrorist attacks having been concentrated in the Olympic capital.
Some Russian regions, including Moscow, have announced that security measures will be intensified until the end of the Games on Feb. 23, and that particular attention will be paid to the security of airports and railway stations to catch potential terrorists who may be in transit or are targeting busy transportation hubs.
Related: Sochi Chief: City is World's 'Most Secure Venue'
The U.S., which has offered Russia assistance in securing the Games by sending FBI agents to Sochi and Moscow, as well as fighter jets and warships to the Black Sea, also said that a key concern was the possibility of a terrorist targeting locations outside the main event areas.
"The biggest issue from my perspective is not the Games themselves, the venues themselves," U.S. National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen told the Senate Intelligence Committee last week. "There is extensive security at those locations — the sites of the events. The greater threat is to softer targets in the greater Sochi area, in the outskirts beyond Sochi, where there is a substantial potential for a terrorist attack."
President Vladimir Putin has said security will be guaranteed in Sochi, with about 40,000 personnel employed in the effort, but he has not specifically addressed concerns about other potential targets.
Related: VIDEO: Medvedev Takes to CNN to Reassure Sochi Security Fears
But other targets appear to be more vulnerable. In late December, two terrorist bombers blew themselves up in separate attacks in Volgograd, leaving 34 people dead.
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