U.S. Studying Possible Rescue Plans In Case Of Crisis At Sochi Winter Olympics
In the face of concerns about possible attacks by militants during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, U.S. military and intelligence officials "have been studying contingency plans" for evacuating Americans from the Games in case of a crisis, according to Mark Hosenball of REUTERS. But a source familiar with Obama administration debates said that U.S. officials "have concluded there would be major obstacles to mounting a large-scale effort by the military or other U.S. government resources to evacuate Americans from Sochi." The most formidable roadblock is that "Russian authorities have historically been reluctant to allow foreign military forces," especially those of the U.S., on Russian territory. The source said that U.S. contingency planners "have also apparently determined that there are few ways to prepare and potentially position supplies or forces for a possible Olympics rescue because of Sochi's location" (REUTERS, 1/19). The MOSCOW TIMES reported an Islamic extremist group in Dagestan "has claimed responsibility for December's suicide bombings in Volgograd and threatened to deliver a deadly 'present' to visitors to Sochi Winter Olympics that start next month." A video posted on the website of the radical group Vilayat Dagestan on Sunday "showed two men described as the perpetrators of the 'martyrdom operation' terrorist bombings that killed at least 34 people in Volgograd last month" (MOSCOW TIMES, 1/20).