With much of his legacy resting on the success of the Winter Olympics next month, President Vladimir Putin is boosting security measures in Sochi. But will the last minute changes be enough?
This, after two separate suicide bombings less than two weeks ago in Volgograd killed 34 people. (Via ITN)
While Volgograd is located some 400 miles away from Sochi, many security experts say the timing of the blasts was no coincidence. (Via CBS)
“For these jihadist groups and individuals, a successful strike on the games themselves … that is the Holy Grail.” (Via NBC)
The leader of those jihadist groups is Doku Umarov of Chechnya. Earlier this summer, he released this video message calling on his supporters to use maximum forces disrupt the games. (Via Euronews)
His threats are being taken seriously. While his group hasn’t taken responsibility for the Volgograd bombings, it has carried out several other high-profile attacks in the past. (Via CNN)
In turn, Russia has invested billions to keep the games safe, in what’s being described as the biggest security operation in sports history. (Via YouTube / SochiVideoCom)
More than 30,000 police officers and troops will be deployed, naval ships will patrol the seas and drones will monitor the skies. The entire city will be closed off to all vehicles without special accreditation. (Via Jewish News One)
Of course, even if terrorists can’t get into the city, experts say that doesn’t mean they won’t try to strike elsewhere.
As one veteran Kremlin critic told The Christian Science Monitor: “It may be that the extraordinary concentration of security resources in Sochi means that city is safe, but what about the rest of the country? Even Moscow? If terrorists strike anywhere, it will seriously undermine faith in Putin."
While Putin insists all necessary security measures have been taken, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has reportedly offered Russia extra security assistance, if needed.