In light of the two suicide bombings in Volgograd, Russia that killed 31 people and left over 50 injured, the United States offered Russia with more security during the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The games begin in six weeks.
“The U.S. government has offered our full support to the Russian government in security preparations for the Sochi Olympic Games,” White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said. ”We would welcome the opportunity for closer cooperation for the safety of the athletes, spectators and other participants.”
Officials say that while Russia will be responsible for overall security at the Games, U.S. personnel will be in the country in what the Obama administration is calling ”liaison roles.” The effort will be headed by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which typically assists host nations during events where a large number of Americans will be present. Diplomatic security agents will work with Russian security and law enforcement officials.
A female bombed a bus in Volgograd in October, killing six people and injured over 30 people. On Sunday, a suicide bomber blew up a train station, killing 17 people and less than 24 hours later another terrorist bombed a bus, killing 14 people. Volgograd used to be Stalingrad, which was where the Russian army defeated the Nazi army, a turning point for the Allies on the Eastern front. It is also a major transportation spot for Russians and tourists between Moscow and southern Russia. It is also about a 9 hour drive from Sochi.
The female bomber in October was connected to radical Muslims in the Caucasus region, which are led by Doku Umarov. He released a video in July and told his followers to attack more in Russia and make the Olympics a priority. No group or person has claimed responsibility for the last two attacks, but officials believe they are connected to the October attack. Chechnya is about an 8-9 hour drive to Sochi. The Boston Marathon bombers were also from this area.
President Obama is on vacation in Hawaii, but was briefed on the attacks. There will be many Americans participating in the Olympics and security is a concern for the government.