News / Europe

US Emphasizes Close Cooperation With Russia on Olympic Security

FILE - White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Jan. 22, 2014.
FILE - White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Jan. 22, 2014.
The White House and U.S. officials say Washington and Moscow are cooperating closely on security for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Officials briefed reporters Friday on preparations.

President Barack Obama's spokesman was asked for updates on steps to ensure security for the 230 U.S. athletes, 270 coaches and support staff, and possibly as many as 10,000 Americans, expected in Sochi. Jay Carney said the United States remains in regular contact with the Russian government, adding that State Department diplomatic security and FBI teams are in place in Sochi.

Against the background of concerns that American athletes have voiced about security for family members traveling to Sochi, Carney said Washington knows the Russian government takes seriously the need to make the Games safe.

"We have no doubt that it is in their absolute interest to take all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety and security of the Olympic Games, and we are working with them and other nations in taking the precautions that we can take, mindful of the fact that Russia as the host nation has the lead in security," said Carney.

Carney said the U.S. offer of assistance to Russia stands. Asked if a request has been received, he said he could not detail conversations.

As previously announced, two U.S. Navy ships are being sent to the Black Sea. Sochi is located on its northeast coast.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was asked Friday about planning for a potential evacuation of Americans should it become necessary in the event of any terrorist attack. "We've had conversations with the Russian government on the protection of our citizens; of course, if we need to extract our citizens, we will have appropriate arrangements with the Russians to do this.”

Senior administration officials briefing reporters said no specific evacuation plan is in place. Officials said Hagel was referring to a "mutual understanding" between U.S. and Russian defense officials about coordination if there was a need to evacuate.

The officials also said there had been no formal request by the Russian government for technology to help counter Improvised Explosive Devices [IEDS], but that the U.S. and Russia have had general discussions on this topic.

They noted that an increase in threat reporting around the Olympics comes from intelligence and media reports, adding that close attention is being paid to all of them.   

They said among threats they are watching closely are media accounts of female suicide bombers and a video posted online claiming responsibility for the attacks that killed more than 30 people in Volgograd [700 kilometers from Sochi] earlier this month.

The senior administration officials said American diplomatic security teams will accompany U.S. teams to all venues, acting as a liaison with Russian government security services.

A State Department travel warning issued earlier this month made note of the Volgograd attacks and said large-scale public events - such as the Olympics - present an attractive target.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs