Friday, January 10, 2014

Russia Pumps Up Security for Olympics as Putin puts Thousands of Officers on "Combat Alert"

Russia cast one of the most extensive security nets in Olympic history over the city of Sochi on Tuesday, activating restrictions on the Black Sea resort a month before the start of the Winter Games. 
The sweeping safety regime restricts access to sensitive areas and puts thousands of officers on "combat alert," a measure stemming from an Olympic security order that Russian President Vladimir Putin issued last year.
The rules, which will remain in effect until after the Paralympic Games conclude in Sochi on March 16, come a little more than a week after two bombings killed more than 30 people in the Russian city of Volgograd on Dec. 29-30, an attack that raised safety concerns about the Games set to take place little more than 400 miles away. 
Doku Umarov, the leader of an Islamist insurgency in Russia's southern Caucasus region, has called on his followers to use "maximum force" to disrupt the event. 
The result of that threat is one of the biggest security operations in Olympic history. Some 37,000 police officers will join army and navy units to seek to ensure the safety of the Games, far more than the contingent of guards used to protect the 2012 Olympics in London. The Russian officers have carried out antiterrorism exercises in Sochi in recent months.
The Federal Security Service, known as the FSB, is also running checks on participants, all of whom have been required to register their passports. Six Pantsir-S missile defense systems will guard the skies during the Games. The rules that took effect Tuesday are just one part of the security regime.
"Starting Jan. 7, all units guaranteeing the safety of Games guests and participants are entering combat alert, all venues will be sealed off, and a satellite monitoring system will be activated," Emergency Services Minister Vladimir Puchkov told Russian news agencies. "All security issues for the Winter Olympics are being solved at the highest international level."
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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