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

    Can EU Survive a Brexit?

    Across Europe politicians are asking if the British vote to leave the European Union will set in motion dynamics that will see other member states leave too

    Video Entrepreneurs Tackle Sexual Harassment, Rural Health Care at Global Summit

    VOA talks to enterprising business people from India, Nigeria, Myanmar about their programs to help their respective countries overcome obstacles

    Key African Anti-Venom About to Permanently Run Out

    The tale of Fav-Afrique’s demise is a complicated one that reflects a deeper crisis brewing in global public health

    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.
    Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Marketsi
    X
    June 24, 2016 10:43 AM
    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Markets

    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.
    Video

    Video During Ramadan, Faith and Football Converge in Lebanon’s Megadome

    In Beirut, a group of young entrepreneurs has combined its Muslim faith and love of football to create the city's newest landmark: a large, Ramadan-ready dome primed for one of the biggest football (soccer) tournaments in the world. But as the faithful embrace the communal spirit of Islam’s holy month, it is not just those breaking their fasts that are welcome.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora