News / Europe

IOC Assures Russia's Security After Attacks

A policeman watches as a bus, destroyed in an earlier explosion, is towed away in Volgograd on December 30, 2013.
A policeman watches as a bus, destroyed in an earlier explosion, is towed away in Volgograd on December 30, 2013.
Michael Bowman
The International Olympic Committee says it remains confident the upcoming Winter Games in Sochi will be “safe and secure” despite terrorist bombings in the Russian city of Volgograd that have killed more than 30 people.

The IOC says its president, Thomas Bach, has written to Russian President Vladimir Putin expressing condolences for the Volgograd attacks and stating that he remains "certain that everything will be done to ensure the security of the athletes and all the participants of the Olympic Games."

Suicide Bombings in Volgograd, RussiaSuicide Bombings in Volgograd, Russia
x
Suicide Bombings in Volgograd, Russia
Suicide Bombings in Volgograd, Russia
Monday, a suspected suicide attack demolished a crowded trolley bus in Volgograd, some 650 kilometers northeast of Sochi, which will host the 2014 Winter Olympics in February. The attack came one day after a deadly suicide bombing at the city’s main railway station.

Russian authorities have increased security in and around the southern city.

A spokesman for Russia's main investigative agency says the bomb in Monday's explosion was similar to the one used in Sunday's attack, confirming suspicions that they may be linked.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either blast, but Islamist insurgents from the nearby North Caucasus region have carried out similar attacks on public transit targets in Russia in recent years.

“Attacking the Sochi Olympics itself would be the ‘Holy Grail’ for one of these terrorist groups,” said Andrew Kuchins, who directs the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

He said, “Sochi has been virtually under lockdown for the last six months or so. Being able to penetrate that security is not going to be easy. So perhaps we see a strategy of individuals and groups undertaking terrorist acts in other parts of Russia.”

Kutchins predicts fear gripping Volgograd will spread. He said, “The creation of a sense of terror around the country is already developing. I am afraid it is going to be a very precarious and dangerous time between now and the games.”

Putin has ordered Russia’s counterterrorism agency to step up security in Volgograd and elsewhere.

Sowing fear

Anatoly Ermolin, a veteran of Russia's special security forces, told VOA's Russian Service that what happened in Volgograd was a planned terrorist act and carried out professionally. He says it is a "layered attack" which may not be over, adding that the goal was to have the whole country talking about it in the lead-up to New Years celebrations.

U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden condemned the attacks in Russia, saying the United States stands with the Russian people against terrorism. Hayden's statement says the U.S. government has offered its full support to the Russian government in security preparations for the upcoming Games.

Russia has introduced some of the most stringent security at any international sporting event, including a limited-access security cordon around the entire city of Sochi and requiring spectators to have accreditation documents that include passport details and contact information.

Authorities initially said Sunday's blast was set off by a female suicide bomber from Dagestan - a republic in the nearby volatile North Caucasus. But authorities later said they believe the attacker was a man.

Targeting civilians

An attack in Volgograd by a female suicide bomber on October 21 killed five people and wounded 30. Investigators also identified her as coming from Dagestan.

Dagestan is one of the centers of an ongoing Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus.

In early July, the leader of the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, Doku Umarov, declared an end to a moratorium on attacks on Russian civilian targets that he had announced the previous year.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) shakes hands with a man injured in a bomb blast, Volgograd, Russia, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Pallbearers carry the coffin of Denis Andreev, age 24, who was killed by a suicide bomb blast in the main railway station, Volgograd, Russia, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin lays flowers at the site of a trolley bus explosion, Volgograd, Russia, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Security personnel patrol the streets, central Volgograd, Russia, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • A policeman patrols a street with New Year's decorations, central Volgograd, Russia, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • A woman cries outside the main railway station, Volgograd, Russia, Dec. 31, 2013. 
  • Investigators work at the site of a blast on a bus in Volgograd, Russia, Dec. 30, 2013.
  • Members of the emergency services work at the site of a bomb blast on a bus in Volgograd, Russia, Dec. 30, 2013.
  • Smoke pours out of the railway station after an explosion, Volgograd, Russia, Dec. 29, 2013. 
  • Investigators work at the site of an explosion near the entrance to a train station in Volgograd, Russia, Dec. 29, 2013. 

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: B. Nigel from: UK
December 30, 2013 3:24 PM
that is a good reminder to stay away from the corrupt Mafia State... I don't want any thing to do with Russia or Muslimes - thank you very much!!!

by: V.Z. from: Russia
December 30, 2013 10:49 AM
OMG... Islamic terrorism in Russia... let me tell you VOA, Russia can not survive this. Putin has been threatening the US, he has antagonized Israel, he constantly irritating the World by assisting Iran, he meddled in Syria against all reason... and he strangled Ukraine... I read somewhere in the VOA comments here that Sochi will be like the Munich Olympics of 1972... and, I agree...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs