January 23, 2014 / 1:17 PM / 5 years ago

Russia says ignore 'provocative' messages threatening Games

Alexander Zhukov of Russia takes the oath as a new member of the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires September 10, 2013. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia urged other countries on Thursday to ignore letters threatening an attack on next month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, dismissing the warnings as a hoax.

The host nation echoed international Olympic officials who said the messages received by national Olympic committees in the United States and at least five European countries, making a “terrorist threat”, posed no danger.

“I think this is a provocation ... and we recommend that our colleagues from other countries pay no attention,” Russian Olympic Committee chief Alexander Zhukov told a news conference.

After two suicide bombings killed 34 people in the southern city of Volgograd last month, Russia has been keen to assure athletes and spectators that the Olympics in Sochi, close to the turbulent North Caucasus, will be safe.

Islamist militants in the North Caucasus have threatened to attack the Games. But Zhukov said: “All necessary security measures have been taken and safety will be ensured.”

Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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