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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs