Russian PM guarantees security at Sochi Olympics

Fri Nov 1, 2013 4:24am EDT
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By Stephen Adler and Timothy Heritage

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian government and security services will overcome security threats and can guarantee safety at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

In an interview with Reuters, Medvedev said Russia had taken a number of safety measures around the city, which borders the volatile North Caucasus region where Islamist insurgents wage nearly daily violence.

"A number of threats exist in our country, so everyone is working as hard as possible - the special forces are working, and the government as a whole is trying to guarantee the absolute safety of the Olympic Games," he said on Thursday.

"And I believe that's what will happen. But it's clear that we should take a number of other decisions to make sure that these Games are held without a hitch, so that they will be remembered as a spectacular sporting event."

He did not specify what those measures were.

Spending on the February Games is expected to pass $50 billion, and they are a priority for President Vladimir Putin who wants to use it to showcase the country's modern face to the world two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), visited Sochi to inspect preparations this week and praised the work and said he was sure the Games would be "magnificent".

Security services have installed video cameras around the city and plan to use drones at the Games to keep watch over the sprawling venues that reach from the Black Sea coast, where skating events will be held, to the Caucasus Mountains.   Continued...

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev looks on during an interview with Reuters in Moscow, October 31, 2013. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor