Jan 22, 2014
US warships available for security backup for Sochi Olympics, US Navy says
U.S. Navy ships will be stationed near the Black Sea resort town of Sochi and will be available for contingency operations if Russian authorities call upon them for support during next month’s Olympic Games.
U.S. commanders in the region are conducting “prudent planning and preparations” if that support is required.
Concerns about security threats during the Olympics have grown in the wake of the deadly Dec. 29 explosion by a suspected suicide bomber in the southern Russian city of Volgograd. The bombing was followed a day later by an alleged suicide attack in the same city on a trolleybus.
The two attacks, which Russian officials say were carried out by militants from Russia’s North Caucasus region, killed 34 people and left dozens more wounded.
Russia’s struggle with Islamic militants dates back to the fall of the Soviet Union and the bloody wars of the 1990s against separatists in Chechnya.
In anticipation of the Olympics, Russian authorities have intensified security measures around Sochi.
In addition to ships forward-positioned in the Black Sea, the U.S. military maintains numerous military assets in the region that could assist in any evacuation of U.S. athletes, such as C-17s at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, special operations units based out of Stuttgart, Germany, and crisis-response U.S. Marines out of Spain.